Chelsea have a genuine interest in Everton and Brazil striker Richarlison this summer. The 25-year-old has emerged as one of Thomas Tuchel’s top targets as the Blues head coach looks to bolster his attacking options ahead of the 2022/23 season.
football.london understands Tuchel is a big fan of the Brazil international, who ended up scoring 10 Premier League goals last season as he spearheaded Everton’s escape from relegation. Chelsea could also face competition from Tottenham, with transfer chief Fabio Paratici also very keen on the attacker. There’s an understanding at Everton that Richarlison could leave the club this summer, with the forward having just two years left to run on his current contract at Goodison Park.
With Romelu Lukaku looking set to leave Chelsea and re-join Inter Milan on loan in the coming days, the Blues’ pursuit of the likes of Richarlison, Raheem Sterling and Ousmane Dembele could be about to heat up. So, with this being said, football.london caught up with Liverpool ECHO correspondent Chris Beesley about what Richarlison could offer Chelsea.
READ MORE: Chelsea’s summer transfer window could be about to kickstart amid Romelu Lukaku admission
Beesley also referenced a conversation Richarlison had with Everton boss Frank Lampard shortly after the former Chelsea manager took over on Merseyside. “Richarlison is a versatile forward in that he can play as either a center-forward or on the wings,” Beesley tells football.london.
“He told Frank Lampard soon after his appointment as Everton manager that he prefers to play as a ‘No.9’ as that is more like the position he occupies for Brazil, but a lot of people who watch the club play on a regular basis. he usually plays on the left for Everton, cutting inside on his right foot and sees a lot more of the ball when in these areas compared to when he is leading the line and is often isolated and in turn, frustrated , because of this. “
There have been questions raised over Richarlison’s attitude during his time in the Premier League. However, as Beesley points out, this has never been a concern at Everton – and, in fact, he is now a favorite among the supporters at Goodison.
He adds: “Richarlison seems to be the kind of player who rubs up opponents the wrong way but there has never been a problem with his attitude at Everton. The only ever moment over his four years at the club so far when you could suggest that he might have stepped out of line was when he wanted to take a penalty at Brighton last August when Dominic Calvert-Lewin – who stepped up and converted – was going to take it.
“He always gives 100% for his team and is a hard worker who seems genuinely liked by all of his team-mates – who gave him a hero’s reception at Finch Farm [Everton’s training ground] when he returned with his Olympic gold medal last August – and the Everton supporters given that he’s a real fan favorite. “While he often seems serious and even angry on the pitch, it’s probably because he cares and he’s a real heart on the sleeve type character but away from playing, he’s a real bubbly personality.”
If Chelsea are paying upwards of £ 50million for Richarlison, then they want to ensure they are getting the real deal. Someone who can come in and hit the ground running at Stamford Bridge and become one of the top attacking players in the Premier League. There are some concerns, however.
“He needs to become more consistent,” Beesley adds. “He scored 13 Premier League goals in both of his first two seasons at Everton and it then dropped to seven in 2020/21 – I genuinely believe this could be down to the sterile conditions of football without fans given the way he feeds off the crowd – and finished last season with 10.
“Anyone who is a regular in the Brazil national team must be a great talent and we’ve all seen the kind of special moments he’s capable of producing, like his match-winner against Chelsea back in May, when he was the coolest person in the stadium to slot that chance away.But to be a truly world-class performer, he needs to be doing that on a more regular basis, especially if he was to move to Stamford Bridge.
“He’s probably the most difficult player for Frank Lampard to replace within the squad, certainly in terms of identifying any kind of like-for-like alternative because there probably isn’t one. Also, as stated earlier, he’s a big personality within the dressing room and particularly popular with the club’s fan base because he shares their great passion.
“Given that Everton paid Watford £ 35million, rising to £ 50million for him in 2018, then considering that he still has another two years remaining on his contract, they’d be expecting to make a healthy profit on him and I’d expect them ‘d be demanding a fee closer to the £ 75million Manchester United paid them for Romelu Lukaku five years ago than the relatively paltry £ 51.25million that was quoted in a report from Brazil linking him to Tottenham earlier in the month.
“There’s a begrudging acceptance among Evertonians that either Richarlison or Dominic Calvert-Lewin might be sold this summer – they hope not both – but they don’t want either going on the cheap and they’ll want any funds generated to be invested back into Lampard’s squad as he looks to rebuild his under-achieving side. “