Having completed a £13.5million transfer to Everton on deadline day, Oumar Niasse can’t wait to realise his dream of playing in the Premier League.
Roberto Martinez was on the lookout for more firepower before the window closed, after earlier in the month selling Steven Naismith to Norwich City for £8.5million. And although it took him until the last moments to land Niasse, the 25-year-old is a player who can play in a central attacking role as well as out on the winger, and has been on the radar for some months.
“We’re delighted because Oumar is a player we have been following for a long time,” said the Spanish coach. “He is the right personality and someone who is in a very good moment of his career. He has had a lot of success in Russia and he brings a different quality to what we already have in our squad. We know he’s going to have a massive impact going forward.”
Niasse is a Senegal international, who has four caps for his country. He began his career in his homeland with US Ouakam, scoring 102 league goals in just 152 matches. His first taste of football in Europe came with a brief loan spell at Norwegian side Brann, and completed a permanent move to Turkish side Akhisar Belediyespor in 2013 going on to score 12 times in 34 matches.
He spent just one season in the Super Lig before he was lured to the Russian Premier League with Lokomotiv Moscow. He scored 19 goals in 42 matches in all competitions for the two-times champions, during part of which he was being monitored by the Toffees who have now given him the chance to test his quality in England after paying £13.5million for his signature.
“It’s a great day for me, a big dream to play in the Premier League and a big dream to play for Everton,” Niasse, who has signed a five-and-a-half year contract, said. “Everton is one of the best teams in the Premier League and the Premier League is one of the best leagues in the world. I know Everton is one of the big clubs here in England with history, the fans and the great players.
“I started to watch Everton more since the beginning of October because I had heard about their interest. I was interested to see how they play and how they have good young players. If you see players who are aged 20 or 21 and see them perform like that, you know you have a good coach. The manager believes I can be a player who can add something to the team.”
Niasse becomes the third player Everton have added to their squad during the January transfer window, after Shani Tarashaj who arrived from Grasshoppers for £3million, and Matty Foulds who joined from Bury for an undisclosed fee. Aiden McGeady, meanwhile, ended his rather disappointing spell on Merseyside with a loan transfer to Championship side Sheffield Wednesday.