Early signs suggest that Gerard Deulofeu may be the fall guy following Yannick Bolasie’s £25m move from Crystal Palace to Everton.
Despite earning positive reviews for his performance as a false nine in the Toffees’ season-opening draw with Tottenham, it was the Spaniard who went off for Bolasie when the latter made his debut from the substitute’s bench against West Brom.
In their most recent Premier League game against Stoke, the return of Romelu Lukaku to a full-strength starting line-up saw Bolasie retain his place (playing on the right side of a three in a 4-2-3-1) and Deulofeu drop to the bench.
The Belgian’s goals will be vital to the cause if Everton are to land top-six finish odds of 5/2 this season and there is reason to suspect that sidelining the former Barcelona youngster will prove detrimental to his ability to find the net.
Deulofeu assisted six of Lukaku’s 18 Premier League goals last term, a supply line only bested by Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil to Olivier Giroud conveyor belt, Watford skipper Troy Deeney’s service to Odion Ighalo and Dele Alli’s provision for Harry Kane at Tottenham (each assisted seven).
Given only 16 of the Spaniard’s 26 appearances in the division in 2015/16 were starts and he created eight strikes for teammates in total, that’s superb going and reason to keep him in the team.
Bolasie played most of his football at Crystal Palace on the left side anyhow, meaning that there is no reason to keep Deulofeu out of the line-up to accommodate him.
Instead, Kevin Mirallas should be dropped to the bench, in order for Lukaku to be catered for as best can be.
The Toffees’ number nine, who recently told Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad that he had turned down a move to Juventus this summer, , is 7/10 joint-favourite in the anytime scorer betting for his country’s World Cup qualifying clash with Cyprus.
Barring injury, he’ll also be atop the betting in the same market when Everton resume their Premier League campaign against Sunderland.