Everton: What went wrong for Yannick Bolasie?

The Toffees look set to cut their losses on former Crystal Palace star Yannick Bolasie according to reports.

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(Photo credit: Tom Brogan)

Two years ago Everton parted with around £25 million to secure the services of dynamic winger Yannick Bolasie from Crystal Palace. 

At the time, the Congolese international was catching the eye of fans with his trickery and seemingly improved production. 

However, the move never seemed to work and it was not long before Ronald Koeman, the man who signed him, left his position as Everton manager. Bolasie also missed a year’s worth of action thanks to an injury sustained against Manchester United in December 2016.

Since returning, the 29-year-old has struggled to put his stamp on the team. So what went wrong for Bolasie?

Late bloomer

Yannick Bolasie began his career at Rushden and Diamonds academy before he moved into the Southern League with Hillingdon Borough. 

In 2008, he signed for Plymouth Argyle, who were in the Championship at the time. During his two full seasons at the club, he scored eight goals in 54 games: a record that helped him earn a move to Bristol City in 2011.

By this point, Bolasie was just 21 years old and had moved up the ranks from the non-league all the way to the Championship. His one season at Bristol City was steady and was awarded the title of Young Player of the Year from the fans.

A move to Crystal Palace followed in 2012. It was a perfect fit for both sides as Bolasie impressed everyone with his amazing skill and creativity. 

In his first season with the Eagles, the club were promoted. In the end, Bolasie played in all but three of their games that season. The next year in the Premier League was a struggle but Bolasie continued to impress as Palace stabilised themselves in the division.

After three seasons in the Premier League, Bolasie earned himself a huge move to Everton as he looked to kick onto the next step.

What went wrong?

However you look at it, Everton overpaid for Bolasie. The reported fee of £25 million for a player who had scored ten Premier League goals in three seasons was steep. 

Added to that was the fact that Bolasie had failed to convince anyone of whether he could be a productive player. He would ease past defenders with his trickery but his final product was generally lacking.

His statistics reflect this: he created just 13 goals for Palace in three seasons, meaning that overall he contributed 23 goals in 133 games — that’s fewer than one goal in five games per contribution. 

Action Images via Reuters/Ed Sykes

However, overpaying for an unproductive player shouldn’t dictate poor form. That’s down to the player himself even if Everton were enticed by his highlight reel. 

The fact that Bolasie picked up a year-long injury, though, hardly helped his cause at Goodison Park. Since returning, Everton signed a breadth of attacking players and he fell from being first choice to his current role as a squad player.

With players such as Theo Walcott, Richarlison and potentially Bernard above him in the pecking order, it’s unlikely Bolasie will see much playing time this season.

Should he move?

Recent reports have linked Bolasie with Middlesbrough and Burnley. Both of those clubs would probably be a good fit for him.

Middlesbrough will give him a chance to recapture his form at a lower level, albeit in a Tony Pulis side that is known for stifling creativity. With Adama Traore leaving for Wolves, it’s a chance for Bolasie to take centre stage.

READ: Is Adama Traore a one-trick pony or prodigy?

At Burnley, Bolasie is going to get an opportunity to play in the Premier League, a level at which he no doubt feels he is capable of playing.

The chance to play top division football may be too alluring for Bolasie to turn down but it will be interesting to see where he ends up with the deadline approaching this week. 

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