Considered surplus to requirements at Goodison Park by both Roberto Martinez and Ronald Koeman, the career of Gerard Deulofeu has taken an unusual and unexpected twist. Barcelona, one of the biggest, if not the biggest club in the world have decided that although he has failed to establish himself at Everton, the 23 year old has something to offer the most fearsome forward line in Football.
Rumours have been rife throughout the summer that the Catalan giants were interested in activating the buy-back clause in Deulofeu’s contract. Some ill informed observers suggested it was simply a ploy to sell him on to AC Milan at a profit due to the relatively low €12m transfer fee, but the deal signed between Everton and Barcelona prevents a resale for at least 12 months. So what now for Deulofeu, surely he hasn’t returned to the Camp Nou to sit on the bench?
Unfortunately Deulofeu failed to live up to the hype which surrounded his two moves to Everton. His first spell at Goodison on a 12 month loan deal started well enough, early goals against Stevenage, Stoke and Arsenal earned him a place in the hearts of the Evertonians, but the goal at the Emirates shortly before Christmas was the undoubted highlight of his Everton career. For the remainder of the season the Spaniard failed to make an impact although he did just enough to suggest there was more to come.
Unfortunately Deulofeu’s career hasn’t kicked on. A further loan spell at Seville turned sour with manager Unai Emery openly criticising the player.
“He has incredible qualities but lacks others. Put him out there, one on one and … pfff,” Emery says, blowing out his cheeks in admiration. “But make him play football with team-mates, on a big pitch, and it’s hard. He doesn’t have the maturity or capacity for sacrifice yet.”
On his return to Merseyside, this time on a long term contract, he briefly impressed, but with the tide turning against Martinez, Deulofeu found himself out in the cold, falling foul of the managers hidden dark side. The appointment of Koeman was never going to be a positive experience for Deulofeu. The Dutch manager demands hard work and productivity and neither quality come naturally to Deulofeu. A surprising loan move to AC Milan followed, but in truth the Italian giants have fallen from grace and although he made an impact at the San Siro he was never going to find his way back into favour at Everton.
A summer departure was inevitable, but a return to Barcelona seems a step up in quality that is beyond Gerard Deulofeu. He has a special place in the heart of Evertonians and most will closely follow his career but few will expect him to be a success in La Liga. Good luck Geri.