The price of football is forever on the rise: Ticket prices, travel and your matchday refreshments. Nothing is cheap, but are the fees that clubs pay for certain players far too high?
Take Everton, for example. Last summer they were swindled into spending £45 million on former Swansea City playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson, but they don't seem to learn, with Marco Silva reportedly willing to part with a mammoth £50 million for Watford winger Richarlison.
Perhaps also conjoined with Watford's insatiable desire for managerial compensation, is £50 million justifiable for a player that scored five times and assisted five goals in the Premier League last season? And how would the Brazilian fit in at Goodison Park?
A promising beginning
The 21-year-old arrived on British shores at the end of July 2017, when Watford paid just over £11.2 million for the winger's services. Before his move to Vicarage Road, Richarlison had spent the entirety of his career in his native Brazil, where he played over 60 matches for America Mineiro and Fluminense, from where he was recruited by the Hornets.
New Everton boss Silva was in charge of Watford at the time of Richarlison's arrival - having reportedly been interested in the attacker for some time - and made him one of his first acquisitions. Hence, his recurrent interest now at Everton.
Richarlison and Watford began the last campaign brightly and found themselves in the top six after nine matches, with the Brazilian netting three goals and assisting three more in this time.
This was as good as got, though, with Richarlison scoring and assisting ten goals in total. This is a player that hasn't directly contributed to a goal since December, so Silva is essentially putting all his eggs into the opening three months of 2017/18, hoping to rekindle that form.
Same mistakes at Goodison?
Richarlison's early season form was deservedly receiving praise, though his - and Watford's - decline in the second half of the campaign drew criticism. Speculation around Silva's future hurt matters, but Richarlison went completely off the boil.
It is the rapid decline in his performances which has led to the recent eyebrow-raising over Everton's pursuit of the winger, not least the fee he is commanding, something that has stung the Toffees previously.
Sigurdsson set the club back close to £45 million last season, whilst Davy Klaassen arrived from the Eredivisie for £26 million and both players failed to live to live up to the hype and potential.
After a promising campaign for Burnley the season before, Michael Keane was drafted in to the defence at a cost of almost £26 million, whilst a further £16 million was spent on Nikola Vlasic and Sandro Ramirez to bolster the Everton attack, though both have been almost non-existent since their arrivals.
These returns - excluding Jordan Pickford, Theo Walcott and Cenk Tosun - so far have been underwhelming, which casts doubt on spending another large fee with question marks looming over his consistency.
Fitting into the squad
Richarlison's fast start at Watford can be attributed to a fast understanding and connection of then-boss Silva. The Portuguese's style of play at Watford worked for some time, though perhaps the quality of the players at his disposal wasn't high enough to maintain it.
Richarlison's season worsened after Silva left Vicarage Road, and all signs point to a potentially exciting reunion. Often deployed on Watford's left wing, Richarlison has pace, trickery and crossing ability that can frighten any defence.
Silva is likely to use Richarlison in the same position, but is the Brazilian guaranteed to start for the Toffees?
Theo Walcott and Yannick Bolasie can play the same role and position, plus Silva's ranks could be bolstered by the return of Ademola Lookman - though he looks set for a permanent return to RB Leipzig - and Kevin Mirallas following their loan spells last season.
Depending on his chosen formation, Silva may have five players all vying for only two places. Cenk Tosun will be the first choice centre-forward, but who does Silva deploy in support?
Youngster Lookman will be eager to build on an impressive season in Germany, while Mirallas intends to stay and fight for a place in the XI. A fit-again Bolasie is an asset to any team, and Walcott will want to make sure his career doesn't tail off unconvincingly.
Proving his worth
There is no doubting his ability and talent - as his early season displays showed - but consistency is as of yet unproven. It adds an element of risk to the outlay and a sense of past mistakes repeating themselves.
After seeing the likes of Sigurdsson arrive at Goodison and fail to deliver, for example, the decision to purchase Richarlison for a similar sum will create anxiety in the terraces.
The positive, though, is that the Brazilian is well-liked by Silva, and it appears the Portuguese may be the one to get the best out of the winger. Whether £50 million is proven to be an acceptable fee though, only time will tell.
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