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How will Oumar Niasse’s loan move impact Everton?

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Senegalese striker has joined Cardiff City for rest of the season

Everton FC v West Ham United - Premier League
Niasse failed to score for Everton this season
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Everton striker Oumar Niasse has been loaned to Premier League strugglers Cardiff City for the rest of the season.

Niasse, 28, joined the Blues from Spartak Moscow for £13.5 million in February 2016, but a goalless start to his Toffees career made him synonymous with the demise of then-manager Roberto Martínez.

The following season, Martínez’s replacement, Ronald Koeman, banished Niasse to the under-23s and stripped him of a locker, before the Senegalese moved to Hull City in the second half of the campaign.

On his return to Goodison Park, he was restored to the first team by Koeman shortly before his sacking, but found opportunities harder to come by under Sam Allardyce and current boss Marco Silva.

After nine goals in 39 Blues appearances, Niasse will now head to South Wales to help the Bluebirds, who have the option to buy Niasse in the summer, stave off an immediate return to the Championship.

Where does it leave Everton?

Niasse was reportedly earning about £55,000 per week, so assuming Cardiff have agreed to pay his salary during his loan spell, it makes sense to get a high earner off the wage bill, especially when he has been limited to seven appearances - six from the bench - this season.

In terms of striking options up front, despite fellow senior number nines Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Cenk Tosun hardly being in prolific form this term, both seem better-equipped to lead the line than Niasse, as does winger Richarlison, who has most often occupied the central striking role of late.

Everton still patently need striking reinforcements, with Chelsea forward Michy Batshuayi the latest to be linked with a move to Goodison Park this month, but Niasse has never been the answer, at least this season, and has often looked like a player who knew his time was up.

For all of his technical shortcomings, Niasse was one of few shining lights in Everton’s miserable campaign last year, and the noise with which Goodison erupted following his match-winning brace against Bournemouth will live long in the memory.

Everton v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League
Niasse sent Goodison beserk with his goals against Bournemouth last term
Photo by Mark Robinson/Getty Images

But for Everton to move closer to realising owner Farhad Moshiri’s vision, they need players who can fuse dedication with ability. Niasse, unfortunately, may have possessed the former in spades, but was lacking desperately in the latter.

He will be missed by some Evertonians for his tireless work ethic and his infectious enthusiasm, and seemed a popular figure in the dressing room, but for both player and club, this seems a sensible move.

Where does it leave Niasse?

Niasse’s Everton career has been a peculiar one. Often in his three years at the club it has looked like reaching a conclusion, and yet he continues to hang in there.

Following Koeman’s remarkable change of heart, there were times when Niasse looked easily the biggest goal threat in an admittedly impotent Everton side.

But a ridiculous retrospective ban for an alleged dive against Crystal Palace during David Unsworth’s spell as boss sent his season off course; his return coincided with the appointment of Allardyce, who did not fancy him, and he scored only three times in the second half of 2017/18.

Crystal Palace v Everton - Premier League
Niasse’s season began to unravel after the Palace fixture
Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

Out of contract in June 2020, the Blues will surely try to offload him permanently this summer to avoid him being able to leave for free.

There is undoubtedly a tinge of sadness about Niasse’s departure, but in truth it does look, now more than ever, that he has played his final game for the Toffees.

If he can convince at Cardiff, and score the goals to retain their top-flight status, it might just offer him another crack at the Premier League next year, but it would take yet another miraculous U-turn at Goodison for his future beyond this season to lie at Everton.