Deulofeu's Welcome Return

Gerard Deulofeu may have spent a year away from Goodison but he never really left the hearts of many Blues fans who are delighted to see the mercurial winger back in the fold.

Lyndon Lloyd 25/06/2015 25comments  |  Jump to last

When Gerard Deulofeu signed off his loan spell in May last year with a fond farewell, there was a strong feeling that he might be back as soon as August on another season-long loan when, as expected, incoming Barcelona boss Luis Enrique decided that the then 20-year-old wasn't quite ready to be a part of Barcelona's senior side.

Though Deulofeu would end up being farmed out on loan for the 2014-15 season to Sevilla a move designed, no doubt, to see how the player would fare in the environs of La Liga compared to the more hectic and less Continental English Premier League Evertonians could never quite let him go. The love affair that many Blues had developed with the mercurial Spaniard would live on and play out on Twitter, with the prolonged life of the #HesMagicYaKnow hashtag and Gerard responding with affection to playful ribbing of his "very very wind" reference when things got particularly blustery on Merseyside.

It's not surprising, therefore, that after a difficult season under Unai Emery at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium, the now 21-year-old Deulofeu has elected to turn down a more lucrative offer elsewhere and return to his second home at Goodison Park on a permanent basis. Rejecting the prospect of a third season on loan, he clearly wants to settle in one team now and work on fulfilling the enormous potential that had observers of him as a teenager branding him as the "next Cristiano Ronaldo".

In negotiating a buy-back cause over the first two years and first option on his sale after that, Barcelona have retained an interest in their academy graduate should he indeed become the player many feel he can; Everton, meanwhile, have recaptured a player who can make a genuine difference to a team that struggled last term to emulate its achievements of the season before when Deulofeu was in the side. What's more, they have concluded brilliant business with a fee of just 4.26m.

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While he was becoming an increasingly peripheral figure at Sevilla, and perhaps reminsicing about the impact he made with the Blues, many Evertonians were pining at times for the moments of magic sometimes game-changing moments that Deulofeu had been able to conjure up during Roberto Martinez's first season at the club.

The standout moment of his first spell will be that magnificent strike at Arsenal, a goal almost out of nothing that rescued Everton from familiar defeat on the Gunners' home turf. One of the other abiding, less spectacular but equally telling memories, however, comes from the win at Sunderland in April last year where his sheer bloody-minded persistence in running at the right side of the Black Cats defence finally paid off when he forced a goal in off Wes Brown.

It was another one of those performances under Martinez where you just couldnt see how the Blues were going to find the inspiration to unlock an opposition defence and a game that without Deulofeu's contribution might have ended in another annoying goalless draw rather than a seventh straight win, the final salvo in Evertons abortive cavalry-charge towards the top four that season.

In completing the permament acquistion of the triumverate that made up what Martin Samuel infamously labelled "Everton's 50m loan sham", Martinez has acquired another known quantity with experience not only of the Premier League but of playing for this team as well. For all Deulofeu's sparks of magic, however, it's a signing that comes with trade-offs if, as expected, he is deployed mostly on the flanks. Where Aaron Lennon would run his backside off tracking back and shame the other players into working harder, Gerards mind will likely always be on attack.

Certainly Emery's comments that, "he isn't mature enough yet and needs spirit of sacrifice [for the team]" suggest that Everton will likely have signed a very similar player to the one that left a little over a year ago. He will have learned much from his experience at Sevilla and perhaps been humbled somewhat but remains a work in progress and an inviting challenge for Martinez to groom and mold as a full-time member of the squad rather than a temporary addition.

Like Tom Cleverley, it's unlikely he will have been brought in as the much-vaunted "number 10" that Martinez has made a top priority for the summer but, similar to Kevin Mirallas, his versatility and ability to play off Romelu Lukaku when needed is an important asset.

As pleasing as it is to see the club land two good signings before the transfer window has officially opened, though, it's vital that they mark the beginning of the manager's transfer business and not its peak. In an ideal world, the addition of a player like Cleverley on a free transfer and a rough diamond on a cut-price deal from the Continent would be the cherries on the top of a summer of top-class acquisitions down the spine of the team.

With Martinez's budget unknown and the club unlikely to hand him the millions he really needs to add genuine quality, particularly in goal, in attacking central midfield and up front, the manager won't be operating in anything approaching an ideal world. Whether it's another masterstroke on loan or a couple more imaginative additions for modest fees, he'll have a few more tricks up his sleeve before the transfer window closes.

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Reader Comments (25)

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Iain Love
1 Posted 25/06/2015 at 22:06:57
Lets just hope we retain what we have and prepare properly for the new season. Slightly concerned we have bought players who are called Tom & Gerry.
Fran Mitchell
2 Posted 26/06/2015 at 00:01:38
Two good signings which make the squad much stronger.

Deulofeu is an exciting prospect, and with him, Lukaku and Barkley we have a potentially brilliant attacking 3. Potential being the key word. All 3 come off the back of below-par seasons, and they have it all to prove.

Mirallas, for me, must stay. He still remains our most potent attacking force, and will be an important player to keep the young lads on their toes as he can fill in in all 3 positions.

We should be able to sell McGeady now, a player who is simply not up to the standards but would be a good signing for a newly promoted team. A few million for him could help further building.

A defender is our no1 priority, Stones is still a work in progress and needs competition while Jags is getting older and thus always susceptible to injuries.

The lad from Juve sounds a good fit, but maybe a bit pricey. A solid ’jags style’ defender from the championship may be a better fit. But I couldn’t name one, that’s the scouts job.

The the famous ’no10’. And a solid forward to take Kone’s place and really give Lukaku so,e competition.

These 3 signings should provide us with a squad able to challenge the top-6 and maybe have a good cup run.

Ideally a new Keeper would be on the cards, but that seems unlikely at least for this year. However with Arsenal signing Cech, their Mexican keeper may be restless come next year and would be a great addition.

Darryl Ritchie
3 Posted 26/06/2015 at 03:39:00
Lyndon, to play with your title a bit; "Delefeou’s return, welcomed" most Evertonians, anyway.
Vijay Nair
4 Posted 26/06/2015 at 04:16:10
I echo what Fran has said on McGeady. I don’t think he adds enough value to our team, even as a squad player. Ideally we should offer him to Celtic in part exchange for van Dijk.
Somehow, I don’t think that’s going to happen though.

Happy to see Deulofeu back. He certainly adds another dimension to our attack. Loved seeing him running at opposition defenses along with Coleman. That has been sorely lacking this season.

Vijay Nair
5 Posted 26/06/2015 at 04:36:34
Perhaps we can flog Gibson off at the same time?
Kieran Fitzgerald
6 Posted 26/06/2015 at 07:34:04
We now have him in the squad for pre-season. Start as we mean to go on by drilling it into him now what is expected in terms of work ethic.
David Chait
7 Posted 26/06/2015 at 08:01:55
My mind is how RM is going to pick his side and what will he consider his best 11. This calls for a seperate topic. But great article.
Victor Yu
8 Posted 26/06/2015 at 09:24:34
If we can get a CB and Kagawa then I would say it is a very good window.
Ken Buckley
9 Posted 26/06/2015 at 09:32:07
Nice to have Deulofeu back and on a permanant basis. Only time will tell if he is to reach his potential.

The thing that excites me is that last time he was here both Lukaku and Barkley sprang to life when he was on the pitch. Many talk about his Arsenal goal but the one that sticks with me is when the three of them led the charge away at Newcastle allowing Ross to run half the length of the pitch and net. More of the same lads please.

Victor Yu
10 Posted 26/06/2015 at 09:50:40
Let’s not worry about the buy-back clause. If he becomes so good that Barcelona think he can play for them, then a big team would have come in for him anyways even without one.

Let’s be realistic. At the moment we will not be able to keep star players. So if he really becomes a star he will be ’outgrowing us’ and will not stick around. (If Hibbert was as good as Lahm, he would have left already.)

Paul Thompson
11 Posted 26/06/2015 at 09:47:54
Brilliant business indeed. At that price, the risk is minimal and the potential rewards substantial. Lukaku thrives on two tings: through balls that he can run on to and low crosses that he can turn in. Deulofeu can supply the latter – all we need is a new Number 10 for the former!
Brin Williams
12 Posted 26/06/2015 at 09:58:08
Good that’s another one signed and dusted but we are still two or three slices short of a loaf. One of those will no doubt be the one that Martinez said could take a long time – probably the last seconds on the transfer window or even January sales and will most certainly be Lennon. IMHO.

ps: I hope we are not kept waiting long before the next slice appears!

Dave Abrahams
13 Posted 26/06/2015 at 10:19:57
Brin, let’s hope it’s not stale either.
Michael Polley
14 Posted 26/06/2015 at 10:19:38
Good to have him back. He can put the fear of God into the oppostion’s back 4.

Now more signings please!!!

Colin Glassar
15 Posted 26/06/2015 at 18:51:21
I hope he gives his mate, Sergi Roberto, a call and tells him to join us.
Ian McDowell
16 Posted 26/06/2015 at 19:07:12
Colin. Sergio Roberto would be an excellent signing. Lets hope there is more to follow from Barcelona.
Frank Crewe
17 Posted 26/06/2015 at 19:09:06
Ian if the RS can buy Southampton one player at a time why can’t we do it with Barcelona.
Derek Knox
18 Posted 28/06/2015 at 11:38:14
Can someone please enlighten me?

I have never heard of Sergio Roberto, but judging by the comments, he must be worth looking at.

What position does he play?

I certainly hope we get a quality GK in, don’t fancy another season, being solely reliant on an erratic Tim Howard. I think he lost us a few points last season.

Andrew Ellams
19 Posted 29/06/2015 at 14:30:51
Derek, Sergi Roberto could be the the Number 10 that people are craving. As he is approaching 24 and averages around half-a-dozen games a season for Barcelona, maybe we could strike a similar deal that we just have for Deulofeu.
Keith Glazzard
20 Posted 29/06/2015 at 21:17:17
For me, Lyndon has it right with a known quantity with PL experience and already a ’member’ of this club. We all know his potential, the hard work begins, and he could have chosen softer options.

I’d also like Lennon – is that asking too much?

Frank C – I said in another place, wouldn’t it be easier if the RS simply relocated to the south coast.

Ant Dwyer
21 Posted 30/06/2015 at 09:24:26
Fran Mitchel;

I couldn’t put it better myself; I agree with you completely. I wonder if the powers that be can see the obvious?

Ben Dyke
22 Posted 30/06/2015 at 13:50:48

Translate that into Spanish and pin it on Deulofeu's locker at Finch Farm and this muppet has just written the best ever pep-talk for an Everton player.

Andrew Ellams
23 Posted 30/06/2015 at 14:47:30
What an absolutely useless piece of lazy bastard journalism. How about 3 reasons the Metro is shit:

1. They only ever report second stories;
2. People are more interested in the crappy text message pages;
3. It’s shit.

Andrew Clare
24 Posted 30/06/2015 at 14:57:51
A good signing but hopefully not the big signing of the summer. A playmaker is absolutely vital if we are to be challenging for Europe. If we don’t get him, it will be mid-table I’m afraid.

We have the man to put the ball in the back of the net even if at times he looks clumsy and disinterested; all we need now is the man to provide the service as the only two we have at the moment (Osman and Pienaar) are at the end of their careers.

Signing hard-working midfield players is okay but I think that we have more than enough in that department. We badly need creativity. Creativity makes all the difference.

Ben Dyke
25 Posted 30/06/2015 at 15:07:51
That article is almost as good as the three-reasons-why-Messi-is-a-good-fit-for-Barcelona one (I’m making this up in case you wonder!)

1. They are so rich they can afford him
2. He speaks Spanish
3. He is quite good at football

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