Richarlison’s early promise suggests his days are Everton numbered

By all accounts Richarlison seems like one of those happy-go-lucky kind of characters, devoid of the all-too-common narcissism that comes with the territory for talents of his ilk.

His explosive start to the season was somewhat interrupted by a timid, yet immature, headbutt – a silly offence, regardless of ferocity – and he was justly handed a suspension fitting of the crime.

It was the first blot, however, in a copybook that had yet to collect as much as a smudge, endearing him to neutrals as well as the stanch dwellers in the Goodison Park stands.

Yet his response to the brief moment of lunacy was probably more telling than the moment itself. The precocious Brazilian attacker immediately apologised, so he claims, to his manager Marco Silva, noting the difficulty a team faces when down to ten men.

Perhaps exhibiting such basic moral principles is not something to be applauded, but such characteristics can be quite rare among young players of Richarlison’s undoubted calibre, and especially with the hype he has generated.

This appears to be a guy capable of pushing his ego to the side, despite his age, in a way dissimilar to how others have been unable to strip their games of petulance in their early years – and even beyond.

But don’t be fooled by the perceived lack of bravado. A lack of determination would, too, be an unfair characterisation of the player.

For this is a guy who booked a one-way ticket to Belo Horizonte in his mid-teens as he made a last-ditch attempt to secure a career in the game. For an aspiring teenager, who was left without money for a return flight home, he had to make it work.

Now he wasn’t the first person to become something from nothing and he certainly won’t be the last, yet he retained a humble nature it appears, in contrast to others, which helps when attempting to argue for the hype.

On his return from suspension he was one of the first players over to celebrate with teammates in unfeigned joy, another trait we perhaps shouldn’t have to applaud, even though it would have been understandable if he had been frustrated at not getting on the score sheet for the first time since his forced hiatus, given the hefty weight of the summer price tag resting on his shoulders.

His £40 million transfer to Everton was viewed as excessive at the time for an attacking player who had failed to get into double digits for goals and assists combined in his previous season in the league.

In fact he failed to add either to his tally after the Christmas break and once Silva had moved on from Watford to Everton.

Against Leicester City he took yet another step towards justification of his value, ghosting towards the back of the box to wallop in the game’s opener.

So here we are, only midway through October, and the newly-signed Evertonian already has the look of bargain-buy of the summer.

Unfortunately for Toffees’ fans, that leads to an unfortunate possibility, if not probability: Richarlison’s days in the northwest of England could be numbered.

Securing the services of the next great talent from the Amazon Basin has always preoccupied the so-called ‘super clubs’. And, more often than not, they produce the goods expected of them when acquired.

Neymar succeeded Kaka as the next fleet-footed street-baller to capture the imagination of millions while retaining the nonchalance of a kid on the back streets of Rio.

Before them was Ronaldinho. And who can forget the ‘original’ Ronaldo. The list of predecessors goes right back, albeit Europe didn’t always boast the clout it has these days.

For now, who looks best poised to take over the mantle from Neymar as the Seleção’s golden son? Most of the aforementioned had made their move on the world stage by the Everton youngster’s age meaning, if the pattern continues, Everton could be in for a rip-roaring season from their summer signing before the inevitable struggle back in the boardroom next summer.

The 21-year-old wouldn’t need to be breaking any records or topping any scoring charts, given the international jersey he dons, to attract suitors across the continent.

So for all the promise he displayed during the opening games of the league for Everton, that inevitable caveat looms over Goodison Park. For every moment of brilliance from their man, another set of unwelcome eyes focusses on the blue end of Stanley Park.

Two goals in his recent international debut in New York made him the first Brazilian to score twice on debut since, well, 2016 when Gabriel Jesus did so in a feat which ultimately led him to Manchester City.

Since then however, Jesus has been playing second fiddle to Sergio Agüero, despite performing above mediocrity you could say, meaning the gap has opened for another young Brazilian to capture the imagination. Football does hype like no other sport so it doesn’t take long to become yesterday’s man.

Jesus’ performances in Russia during the summer, as well as the fact that he is already in situ at a major club – one that happens to be among the favourites for the Champions League – makes Richarlison seem like a more attainable proposition for major clubs.

The list of suitors is an illustrious, albeit short, one. Real Madrid, as a case in point, are in need of another galactico to shift jerseys and merchandise at a level that hasn’t been experienced in a number of years.

The South American isn’t anywhere near that kind of level yet, but how good would he really have to be this season to enter the equation.

One phenomenal season, given the short nature of football careers, can see Liverpool-bound flights dumping their stale sandwiches and overpriced lottery tickets for caviar with signature-hunting continental clientele in mind. That’s provided their contemporaries from London and Manchester don’t arrive first.

With the Copa America due next summer, the rising Merseyside star has an additional platform to add to a transfer figure that many would have scoffed at in much the same manner they did at his £40million price tag.

Of course hailing from Brazil – for all the excitement it generates – doesn’t guarantee becoming the next sensation. Remember Geovanni, the $18 million Brazilian kid Barcelona invested in back in 2001? Kleberson, arguably the flop of the Ferguson era at Old Trafford, is only remembered due to a number of hastily-bought jerseys still knocking about.

The latest man to emerge from South America may be nowhere near either end of the sensationalism spectrum since it isn’t inconceivable that a Brazilian has a solid season in the Premier League without garnering the attention of the world spotlight.

With all of this in mind, Bill Kenwright and co. will naturally want their signing to do well over the next few months. Just not too well.

Aonghus Ó Maicín is a writer based in the West of Ireland. You can see more of his writing here, and follow him on Twitter here.

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