The blues from Merseyside have a hill to climb and the task looked steeper every passing pre-season fixture, but things may change now – taking into consideration the singings they have made lately, and in that process, managing to weaken fellow League rivals…
Everton have finally announced the signing of Amadou Onana, with the defensive midfielder prioritizing his move to Merseyside over London’s West Ham United. The 20-year-old was highly anticipated to travel to east London though his priorities lied in playing under Frank Lampard and at Goodison Park despite the Hammers’ numerous proposals submitted to Lille over recent weeks.
Lille had initially agreed a fee of 33 million pounds with West Ham, but with Onana having his heart on the Toffees, all Everton had to do was match West Ham’s offer. The now agreed Everton’s deal with Lille is 36 million Euros with four million add-ons and a 20% sell-on clause with the contract running up till 2027.
The new recruit was seen in attendance for Everton’s 1-0 home defeat to Chelsea with his medicals completed and signing a long-term contract at Goodison Park.
Onana moved to Lille from Hamburger SV in 2021 at the age of nineteen making 31 appearances for the French club during his time and alongside their Canadian striker Jonathan David, they turned out to be the only shining light to their otherwise mediocre squad. Lille finished as low as 10th last season after winning the title a season ago.
The young midfielder made only 11 starts throughout the campaign but beyond any doubt caught the eyes of many. He has experienced playing as No.6 in a double pivot and as No.8 in a 4-3-3 and has been outstanding in both these positions. For a 19-year-old, Onana’s physicality and adding speed to it is a major advantage to his game.
Onana was added to Belgium’s first team squad for the first time during the Nations League campaign this May and was given his debut as a substitute in a 4-1 loss against Holland. But the Belgian Manager was filled with praises when asked about Onana’s display and said, “He has a strong personality. We saw him as soon as he started playing. He never hides, he asks for the ball and dares. That’s why I wanted to bring him into a situation of pressure. In a full stadium and a derby. He will be able to develop with our team.”
How will he transform this Everton side?
Onana stands at an enormous 6 foot 4 statute and this physique at 20 will definitely turn out advantageous when it comes to facing the carcass of English football. This addition will boost Everton’s midfield as most of their defensive midfielders – Fabian Delph, Allan, Jean-Philippe Gbamin, and André Gomes, are all knocking at the medical door consistently, and Onana is also versatile enough to cover up other midfield positions when in need.
Frank Lampard was asked about Amadou Onana in his post-match interview on Saturday and how he watches him fitting in the current Everton squad, he was abounding in praises for the Belgian international stating, “I see him as more of an eight for us. But the way we played today [Saturday] which is playing two sixes, kind of in-between a six and an eight playing with someone else, he can absolutely do that. Whether we want to play with two sixes, or a six and two eights, he can do all of those positions.”
Although his passing and dribbling abilities aren’t his best traits – his contribution in both halves of the pitch cannot be understated. Though, as earlier stated, he brings much needed presence in the heart of the park and could be an asset from the dead-balls either way. His work rate impresses at the highest level, especially when it comes to blowing up the opposition’s attack when they are progressing forward, denying them a second to breathe by positioning on the shadows and often putting in some clean tackles with either foot. The intensity he adds to the game, with the ability to help the team build up from the deeper positions is exactly what Everton have been vouching for.
However, Gana Gueye’s return to Goodison Park will definitely mark his shortcomings but with Premier League’s jam-packed schedule and three subs rule now changed to five substitutes, Onana will turn out to be a prominent squad member. Everton are about to have a busy transfer month with multiple deals in place with the announcement of Connor Coady from Wolves last night, and the return of Gana Gueye from Paris Saint Germain followed by a new striker in search.
Amadou Onana is a prospect Everton are getting today with the capacity to prosper in time to come. Brilliant business by Lampard this…