Roberto Martinez has worrying admission about this Everton man

Roberto Martinez

The Toffees boss says big-money January signing Oumar Niasse has taken far longer to get up to speed than initially anticipated.

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has offered damning assessment of big-money January signing Oumar Niasse, telling the Liverpool Echo that the striker is still only half-fit over two months after his arrival.

The Senegalese forward joined the Toffees for £13.5 million from Lokomotiv Moscow in the mid-season transfer window, a fee which made his the third-most expensive signing in the club's history.

However, thus far he has failed to make any sort of impact at Goodison Park, playing just 26 minutes of competitive football spread across four substitute appearances since his arrival.

The 25-year-old was forced to undergo an operation on a problem with his wrist shortly after signing, and has not even been fit enough to start attempting to justify to fans why the club shelled out an eight-figure sum for him.

Niasse did make two substitute appearances for his country in the recent international break, scoring the winner against Niger last Saturday, but Martinez admitted that he is far from ready to start playing regularly at club level.

The Spanish boss told the Echo: "The adaptation period has been a little bit longer than we expected. Oumar came back with a little bit of a problem in his wrist and that set him back a little bit.

"From the work that he is doing, he is getting very close to being where he wants to be physically. He's a player who needs to be 100% in order to be himself. He would tell you that probably he feels around 50 to 60% of his physical ability.

"We have to be very, very protective in that respect, having the player in the dressing room and Finch Farm, working towards getting him to his best level. The quicker we get through the adaptation period then the quicker we will see the real Oumar Niasse."

Everton could do with Niasse reaching fitness sooner rather than later as they embark upon a hectic April schedule which sees them play six matches in the space of 20 days.

The Toffees travel to Old Trafford on Sunday to face Manchester United at the start of their packed next three weeks, which does not let up until after the FA Cup semi-final against either the Red Devils or West Ham United.

That Wembley clash comes just three days after the short hop to face rivals Liverpool in the Merseyside derby at Anfield, and with such fixture congestion it seems likely that Niasse will get increased chances to finally make a mark. 

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