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Young striker’s return on loan might be for the best

Moise Kean has failed to live up to expectations in his first season in England, but all is not lost

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Liverpool FC v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

It has not been the been the most successful debut season in England for Moise Kean.

Coming to Merseyside with the weight of expectation surely on his growing shoulders was always going to be a big ask for the Italian youngster, but despite showing glimmers of hope it’s clear what Kean needs most is consistent playing time.

Ever since breaking into the Juventus first team as a 17-year-old, he’s only ever been used as a bit-part player and this seems to have affected the impact he has been able to make, especially in the Premier League.

Moise Kean minutes played per season

In Italy Kean was used exclusively as a solo striker up top while at Everton he’s seen a mix of roles thrown at him - from a wide midfielder to a secondary striker - in his first season in the Premier League. And while his match fitness still seems to be suspect, just as is his decision making in times of the COVID pandemic, he remains one of the most exciting striking prospects in Europe.

Italian media - Tuttosport this time, so take it or leave it - are reporting that his former side Juventus are keen to bring back the youngster on loan as they look to bolster their striking options with Gonzalo Higuain leaving now that the legendary Andrea Pirlo has taken over as coach of the first team. Edin Dzeko has also been linked with the Bianconeri who prefer to use Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala in either wide forward, secondary striker or ‘False 9’ roles.

While the media and the more skeptical portion of the fanbase are quick to call the £27.5 million signing from last a summer a bust already, it might make sense for the Blues to send him back on loan to get some playing time. The nine-in-a-row Italian champions play over 50 games a season and could give Kean about 2,000 minutes next season, a number that he has not come close to approaching yet in his budding career. Everton meanwhile are not in European competition and if Carlo Ancelotti insists on using Richarlison alongside Dominic Calvert-Lewin then Kean does not get nearly that volume of time played in the royal blue shirt.

Moise Kean shot maps

Kean certainly has an eye for goal, no matter where he is on the pitch but especially when he is in the box. No doubt he’s done his best work in the Serie A, but the small sample sizes of his time in Italy and then in England make it difficult to make definitive comparisons, but there’s a player there for sure.

Ancelotti tried to sign the striker last summer when he was in charge of Napoli, so clearly he thinks highly of his compatriot.

Moise Kean - Everton (colours) vs Juventus (b&w)
Football Slices

Again, Kean’s fitness and temperament aside - it’s easy to forget that he came to England as a teenager away from home for the first time - he’s the kind of player you want to get the ball to. Apart from Richarlison, no other Everton player causes terror in defences when they run at you quite like Kean.

While his finishing has let him down a couple of times, his expected goal contribution per 90 minutes played (xG90 + xA90) is by far the highest at Everton and on par with his time at Juventus in 2018-19 at 0.74 - that’s basically three goals and/or assists every four games. Second in that metric at Everton is Calvert-Lewin with 0.59, with Theo Walcott on 0.51 and Richarlison at 0.49 behind him.

Moise Kean career stats

Whether Juve’s interest in bringing Kean back on loan is rumour or not, the Blues should be looking at sending the youngster back to Italy where he can get regular playing minutes in climes he’s more comfortable with. The 20-year-old is on a very affordable £53,173 per week wages so no need to cut ties with him with another four years left on his deal. Instead, bring in a veteran forward on reasonable wages to add experience to a young striking corps and let the Italian kid grow into his boots, much like Calvert-Lewin has done in the last couple of seasons.