I’m not going to lie here, Andre Gomes is a very handsome fella, unfortunately for him that doesn’t make him the footballer most people actually think he is. However, fortunately for him those looks do almost hide the implications & flaws to his game that most people decide to either ignore or just can’t see.
He is decent to be fair to him, he’s a decent Premier League midfielder who in this era of absurd transfer spending is probably just about worth the £22m we’ve just paid for him. So, shock horror, a decent midfielder had a decent first season in the Premier League and we should have just left it at that, but sometimes football gets too caught up in the whole romance of things and the football community who are meant to be quite savvy actually end up doing some stupid things, such as making Andre Gomes’ loan permanent (oops).
Putting it simply, Gomes is fine, he’s not some dazzling dynamo in the centre of the park, he’s just fine. Which isn’t bad, it’s just not great – particularly when Everton are set to lose Paris-bound Idrissa Gana Gueye who quietly makes up for all those disguised Andre-Gomes-flaws.
Everton have a well-documented recent history in failing to create attacking situations from connecting the midfield to the front 2 or 3 and last season proved that Andre Gomes isn’t exactly the answer to do that. I’ve been quite critical of Gueye at times but the one thing he definitely did do immensely was quickly nip in and win the ball back, he covered for our lack of ball retention up front & all of a sudden taking him out of an already poorly organised side probably means we’ll need to replace him with an extraordinary defensive midfielder in order for Gomes to be some kind of a success.
Shockingly, this generates complications. Everyone knew this summer would’ve included the likelihood of signing at least two midfielders, and after signing Gomes we have to make sure whoever else comes in complements him as well as being able to secure an unstable midfield.
Sadly, this creates holes in the side, holes that probably can’t be filled by the likes of the promising Sander Berge or Jean-Phillipe Gbamin. Gomes doesn’t average that many tackles (only 1.8 p90) and often gets dispossessed far too easily (2.3 p90 as well as 1.5 unsuccessful touches) for somehow who is a mainstay in a midfield double-pivot. But due to Gbamin’s & Berge’s prowess going forward, their ability to progress the ball well, capabilities to break the lines & how they effortlessly feed the attack, it means it would be Gomes’ duty to hold the fort while others flourish ahead of him and he simply cannot do that, he’s incapable playing the 6-role unless you’re playing a disorganised team.
One thing for sure is that if or when Gueye goes, a midfield duo of Delph and Gomes cannot be the midfield pivot that Silva picks most frequently. Albeit Wigan (A) was only the first time they played together, and yes it was only a pre-season friendly, but even against a substandard Championship side they displayed (as seen below) a wretched lack of discipline, left the centre backs unprotected repeatedly and all but proved a solid defensive midfielder has to be signed.
Gomes and Delph are two very experienced midfielders, who have played for some elite clubs. Even though this is the first time they’ve played together, these types of gaps should not being appearing. Situations like these are an easy way to break into the final third and exploiting the defence. In one pass, our midfield can be totally bypassed.
And just like when Spurs completely embarrassed the blues at Goodison back in December, this time Tom Davies partnering Gomes, the lack of authority and control that a midfield so desperately needs is absent, although I’m still not sure Marco Silva is aware of that.
Gomes does have some positives though, which I think has to be highlighted before this just becomes a near thousand-word write-up in which I’ve just spent bashing the Portuguese international. His passing profile is fairly reasonable, but it is a bit imbalanced (trying to stay positive I promise). He passes accurately, mainly with the intent to go forward and like we saw at the back end of the season, he doesn’t half love a gorgeous long ball (4.5 accurate long balls p90), sending one of the front three bombing forward on the counter, a weapon that was especially effective against the big teams with the pace of Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison causing havoc for the opposition.
But his passing profile also demonstrates exactly where he has to improve, and despite Idrissa Gueye’s criticisms with the ball, it’s actually Gueye who comes across better. Gomes quite straightforwardly just has to be more aggressive on the ball, he needs to be the progressive catalyst that people expect him to be. More deep progressions, more progressive passes, more dribbles, more key passes.
The future may well be quite a surprising one over the next 12 months for the former Benfica and Valencia man, unless he miraculously transforms the way he plays off the ball as well on it, then I’d be surprised if Fabian Delph hasn’t challenged him for his role. Though to be fair I fully expect Delph to be quite an underrated signing and at £8.5m there’s definitely some plausibility for him becoming one of the best value-buys of the summer window. Andre still remains an alright signing and all things considered I genuinely don’t think it mattered how well he played in his debut season; it was inevitable the club would want to make the deal permanent.
Gomes completely bought into the club’s ethos, a handsome being to represent The People’s Club ideology. From helping out at the club shop, to handing over a scarf to a random child on the street, he got Everton and the Evertonians couldn’t have loved him more for it.
I’ve mentioned previously how ‘two or three progressive passes in a row and you’ve got the Park End thinking we’re prime Barca’ and unfortunately in the case of Gomes this couldn’t be more comparable. He may not be the answer but Everton’s starvation of genuine technical talent over the years has caused the glorification of mediocrity and it’s something Evertonians seems to fall for every time.
Andre Gomes is definitely quite the conundrum in our midfield. Nevertheless I’m hoping it’ll go just like my last write-up which was basically a lengthy indirect to Marco Silva that sparked our best run of the season, so hopefully it just does the trick & all of a sudden Gomes might just become the levels Everton supporters think that he has already reached.