By 90Min
November 21, 2017

Imagine being a professional footballer, at the top of your game and scoring goals, subsequently leading to a dream £13.5m move to one of the biggest leagues in world football - the Premier League. A chance to shine on the biggest platform and realise your aspirations in the beautiful game. 

Now imagine that your 'dream' move had been clouded by doubt, uncertainty and indecision by the people who sanctioned the signing of you, playing just 152 minutes across seven appearances in your first six months. 

All of the aforementioned is true for Oumar Niasse. The Senegalese had seen the net ripple 13 times whilst laying on a further 10 for his teammates at Lokomotiv Moscow as the Russian Premier League came to a halt for the winter break, before Everton and Roberto Martinez swooped for his services. 


Niasse must have been ecstatic. Having grown up playing football on the streets of Ouakam in Senegal, he had his chance. A grafter by nature, one would think that he wouldn't let his opportunity slip away, and in reality, he didn't as such. The matter was out of his hands. 

Martinez eventually departed Goodison Park as the Toffees embarked on a terrible run of form, and it is always a difficult time for a new signing when the manager who brought you to the club leaves, but Niasse couldn't have imagined the turbulence he had to endure under the Spaniard's successor. 

Everton lured Southampton's boss Ronald Koeman to Merseyside to replace Martinez, and Niasse was treated inexplicably throughout the Dutchman's tenure. Granted, fitness issues from the aforementioned winter break in Russia - where training was also suspended - impacted Niasse's start to life at Everton, but he had regained full fitness upon Koeman's arrival. 

Quite abruptly, however, the former Ajax boss deemed Niasse surplus to requirements after seeing him play just 45 minutes of a pre-season friendly against Jablonec. The Senegalese international was unexpectedly called into Koeman's office just days later, and the words that he was met with must've crushed him. 

OLI SCARFF/GettyImages

"You need to leave". 

Niasse's Premier League dream looked over. Demoted to play with David Unsworth's Under-23s, stripped of his shirt number and not even given a locker to store his possessions, the 27-year-old had seen no reason for his demise nor the treatment he had received. 

Granted, he wasn't Koeman's purchase. The Dutchman may not have felt he was suited to his preferred playing style, may not have felt that he'd fit the system. That is fair enough. 

What is not, however, is the treatment of the man. “If Niasse likes to play football he needs to leave Everton," Koeman once said. From the minute Everton's new manager had walked through the door, Niasse felt humiliated, undermined, embarrassed, and confused. 

An exceptional attitude to brush off Koeman's brute and get his head down ensued, and Niasse performed excellently in Unsworth's side whilst showing the team respect when other professionals may have looked down upon them and the surroundings. 

His attitude earned a move to Hull, where he scored five times in 13 starts under Marco Silva as the Tigers suffered relegation to the Championship, but Niasse had began to put the building blocks in place to restore his declining reputation. 

Hull decided not to purchase Niasse permanently, and the same notion of rejection was emitted from Koeman upon the Senegalese's return to Goodison. He had to leave. Again. A deadline day move to Crystal Palace fell through at the last minute and the forward's future in England looked ominous. 

The sale of Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United coupled with the failure to sign any type of replacement saw Niasse drafted into Koeman's 25-man squad for the 2017/18 season, as well as given a squad number, but he still remained absent from the Toffee's Europa League squad.

Everton duly struggled, even after spending over £150m in the summer, leading Koeman to turn to Niasse for help mostly from the substitutes bench. An early exit from Europe piled the pressure on the under fire boss, and a 5-2 home defeat to Arsenal was the final straw. Koeman was sacked, and Niasse could finally begin to breathe freely on Merseyside. 

Ironically, the last goal of Koeman's reign at Everton was scored by Niasse; the man he so inexplicably ridiculed and exiled to the point of no justification. Even more joy came the way of the former Lokomotiv forward after Koeman's sacking as Unsworth was appointed interim boss, a man who Niasse had grown fond of in his time of need and vice versa. 

The connection between the two was evident. Niasse grabbed his first real chance at Everton by the scruff of the neck, scoring twice in Unsworth's first four games and six times in total this season, proving to be a real handful for the opposition whilst a focal point for his teammates. 

Niasse has had to be patient since taking the plunge into the English game, but he is reaping the rewards now. A good attitude is vital for any footballer to flourish, and Everton's unlikely saviour has it in abundance. A new fans' favourite is emerging at Goodison.

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