By Alex Stevens
Steve Walsh has already made a huge impact at Everton by convincing the club to sign Idrissa Gueye this summer, according to a reliable journalist.
Former Times Merseyside correspondent Tony Barrett has claimed that the Merseysiders pushed through the capture of Gueye from Aston Villa following the advice of the club’s new director of football.
Walsh was prised from Premier League champions Leicester and is credited with discovering uncut diamonds such as Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and N’Golo Kante.
He was convinced that midfield anchorman Gueye could do a similar job to Kante, who was such a key figure in Leicester’s title triumph before his summer switch to Chelsea.
“One of Walsh’s first moves upon his arrival at Everton was to urge them to meet Idrissa Gueye’s buyout clause and they duly heeded his advice, paying Aston Villa £7.1 million for a defensive midfielder who had been powerless to prevent them from being relegated last season,” Barrett wrote for men’s website Joe.
“On the surface, it seemed a strange move. Villa had been so open and so easy to play against that the idea of a player who operated in a position that is designed to stop the opposition from playing becoming a key component of a team with European aspirations did not stack up for many.
“Walsh was adamant that Gueye would make a positive difference to Everton, though, and the early signs are hugely promising with the 26-year-old emerging as one of the key factors behind Ronald Koeman’s promising start at Goodison Park.”
Only Kante made more interceptions and more tackles last season and Koeman has already recognised the qualities that he brings.
The Senegal midfielder has started all four of Everton’s matches this season, including their three league encounters.
Everton are hopeful of a more successful Premier League campaign this year after finishing 11th last season, and travel to Sunderland on Monday night aiming to build on their fine start to the campaign in which they have accumulated seven points out of a possible nine.
In other Everton news, Koeman has lamented his side’s failure to secure Moussa Sissoko’s signature this summer.