Sunday 4 December 2016

Koeman looks to Bolasie to bolster Blues' goal threat

Everton 1 Tottenham 1

Si Hughes

Published 15/08/2016 | 02:30

Ronald Koeman shakes hands with Ross Barkley after the final whistle
Ronald Koeman shakes hands with Ross Barkley after the final whistle

Everton are close to signing winger Yannick Bolasie, who travelled up to Merseyside yesterday for a medical ahead of a club record transfer worth £30million with add-ons.

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The 27-year-old played on Saturday as a second-half substitute for Crystal Palace, whose manager Alan Pardew admitted after a 1-0 home defeat by West Brom that the DR Congo international had set his heart on a move to Goodison.

Everton's Ross Barkley in action with Tottenham's Jan Vertonghen. Photo: Eddie Keogh/Reuters
Everton's Ross Barkley in action with Tottenham's Jan Vertonghen. Photo: Eddie Keogh/Reuters

Bolasie has been a key target for Ronald Koeman, the Everton manager, who will look to his pace and goalscoring prowess to supplement the considerable striking threat already provided by Romelu Lukaku, who missed the 1-1 draw with Tottenham with a heel injury.

Bolasie's arrival will put pressure on Gerard Deulofeu, who came within a whisker of securing victory only for substitute goalkeeper Michael Vorm to deny him.

Deulofeu, like Bolasie, is something of a maverick. The 22-year-old endured a wretched year at Sevilla, where Unai Emery did not select him because his intensity did not match the levels of those around him.

On Saturday, the Spaniard was moved from his customary role on the wing to a central striker role. Koeman believes that he can become a No.9, but needs to work on his game. When Danny Rose and Erik Lamela passed their way out from Tottenham's left-back area, Deulofeu stood and watched. There was no chase. James McCarthy clapped his hands aggressively, reminding him of the effort required to play for Everton. Deulofeu shrugged his shoulders.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino. Photo: Eddie Keogh/Reuters
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino. Photo: Eddie Keogh/Reuters

It feels like this could be a defining year for him. Without consistency, he may never amount to more than an impact substitute, especially with the arrival of Bolasie.

"Sometimes Gerard and Kevin need to run more, do more and press more," Koeman warned. "It is all about work-rate, and sometimes it is difficult because that kind of creative player is sometimes a bit sloppy in that aspect of football.

"It's not a question of how good is his technique, or how good is his first touch of the ball. He needs to take more responsibility for the team and also do a job defending, and that makes the team stronger."

Spurs, having fallen behind early to a free-kick from Ross Barkley (another player Koeman wants to see more from), saw goalkeeper Hugo Lloris replaced before half-time with a pulled hamstring.

Until Pochettino abandoned two holding midfielders and dropped Dele Alli deeper, Tottenham's play was conservative and unimaginative, though Vincent Janssen's introduction in attack shifted the dynamic. Like Alli, Harry Kane slipped back down the pitch, into a No.10 role, and an equaliser from Lamela followed.

Pochettino appreciates that the last 12 months have been physically demanding on his young squad, but said: "Whether they were fit or not, I think we played very bad in the first half. The second half, I think, looks like Tottenham." ( © Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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