This post contains affiliate links. “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”
Everton are already benefiting from the decision to bring Demarai Gray back to England after the winger scored his second goal in as many Premier League games on Saturday.
He had once been a Leicester regular until his career there seemed to be exhausted last season, before a trade to Bayer Leverkusen brought him to Germany in January for just around £ 2.7 million.
Just 10 Bundesliga appearances later and eyebrows were shocked when Everton paid even less than that to make him one of the first signings of new coach Rafa Benitez in July. But so far Gray has proven to be a very canny acquisition for Everton.
It feels like he’s been around for a long time, he became a Birmingham regular at the Championship in 2014, but Gray is still only 25 years old and potentially still shy of his peak.
Perhaps unexpectedly, he has now started all three of Everton’s Premier League games so far this season and scored important goals in two of them.
His strike against Brighton set the ball rolling for a dominant victory and perfectly showed what he is capable of. Gray had been brilliant and lively before scoring, however it was the way he picked up the ball and drove in a more or less straight line towards the goal that was particularly remarkable.
He faced Brighton defender Adam Webster, who was cautious about committing to a tackle and tried to show Gray to the outside with his weaker left foot. But that did not discourage the Everton man and once he reached the penalty area he launched the shot with his left across the goal, finding the bottom corner and giving his team an advantage that never gave up.
That kind of pacing and pushing with or without the ball is a huge advantage, whether a team takes the game to an opponent, looking to break up on the fast break, or defending an advantage and looking for a ball carrier to take the pressure off running. on the clock. Everton also picked up Andros Townsend on a free transfer in the summer and he’s having an equally positive impact.
The break from the spotlight seems to have done Gray a lot of good, almost as if it allowed him to take a breath and reset, before starting over with a new challenge.
Everton have spent a lot of money on players they have disappointed in recent years, but perhaps one of their best signings now is someone who cost less than £ 2 million.