Alex Iwobi signed for Everton on deadline day for a reported initial fee of £28 million, and the announcement of the transfer received a fairly mixed reaction from Everton fans. However, following Everton’s lack of creativity in Everton’s opening game, Iwobi should be viewed as a very welcome addition to the side. Make sure to check out Toffee TV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vtP_bVB45g&t=925s

Perhaps because of his lack of goals (31 in 205 career club appearances), some Evertonians have made their frustration clear about Everton signing the Nigerian 23 year-old attacking-player, Alex Iwobi. Claims that he isn’t good enough, nor creative enough have been made by moaning blues on social media, despite statistical analysis from last season suggesting otherwise.

A lack of creativity against Crystal Palace was evident, with Gylfi Sigurdsson particularly seeming to struggle. Although providing some promising moments and working very hard, Bernard and Richarlison lacked attacking quality. This can be excused due to it being so early on in the season, however Evertonians should be excited about the creativity that Iwobi will add once introduced in to the side.

He’s a fast and an exciting player, but will add much more than just entertaining runs and flashy skills. His passing and dribbling is statistically better than Everton’s current wingers. In terms of passes in to the penalty area per 90 minutes, Iwobi was a very impressive sixth out of players in Europe’s top five leagues, behind only Lionel Messi, Neymar, Alejandro Gomez, Josip Llicic, and David Silva. This highlights his positivity when on the ball, through his willingness to play forward. Adding directness to Everton’s play should contribute to having better creativity in attacking phases.

Such direct attacking play is also highlighted by Iwobi being fourth when comparing each team’s player with the most combined progressive passes and runs per 90 minutes. Iwobi led Arsenal in this category, and was behind only Silva for Man City, Hazard for Chelsea, and Pogba for Man Utd.

Further Iwobi creativity is outlined when comparing his statistics with that of current Everton widemen, Bernard, Richarlison, and Theo Walcott. Iwobi tallied 6 assists, as much as the three Everton wingers combined, despite playing less minutes. Furthermore, Iwobi averaged more successful passes per 90 minutes than Bernard, Richarlison, and Walcott, as well as more chances created per 90 minutes, and a higher pass accuracy.

These superior passing and creativity statistics are accompanied by impressive dribbling statistics, with Iwobi attempting more dribbles per 90 minutes than Bernard, Richarlison, and Theo Walcott, as well as completing more successful dribbles per 90 minutes than the current Everton wingers last season.

With him being so direct, and positive with both his passing and dribbling, more chances will be created for whoever’s up front. Furthermore when playing out wide, Iwobi is great at beating the full-back before playing lateral passes in to the box. These pull-backs should create more scoring opportunities for the likes of Moise Kean and Gylfi Sigurdsson.

Although Iwobi is most commonly known for being a pacey wide-player, he has made 44 career appearances in a central attacking midfield role.  This could be an option if Sigurdsson continues to play as poorly as he did against Crystal Palace. This would provide the team with more pace and direct running from central midfield. Likewise, he can also play in a deeper role; more of a number 8 position. This could be an option currently, with Andre Gomes and Fabian Delph both injured.

At just 23, Iwobi is still a young player with plenty of promise and potential to develop and be even better. He’s a player who’s already more than capable of being in the starting line-up, and we could see him being heavily featured very soon.

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BILLY MINSHALL