Everton manager Roberto Martinez has told the Daily Mail that January signing Oumar Niasse may not play before the end of the season.
The Toffees drew 1-1 at home to Southampton on Saturday afternoon, and whilst fans were pleased to see Martinez blood some young players, they were also left perplexed by Niasse being an unused substitute.
Niasse, who turned 26 today, hit 13 goals for Russian side Lokomotiv Moscow in the first half of the season, and those goalscoring exploits led to Everton snapping him up on deadline day of the January transfer window.
As confirmed on Everton's official website, the Toffees forked out a huge £13.5m for Niasse, with Martinez adding another attacking weapon to his arsenal, given that the Senegal international can play out wide or up front.
Known as a pacey player with an eye for goal, fans have been excited to see Niasse in action - but so far, he's played just 19 minutes of Premier League action from three substitute appearances.
Having been an unused substitute against Southampton, fans have been left confused about what Niasse's situation really is right now, with Martinez seemingly giving football to everybody but Niasse.
Martinez was asked about the situation today ahead of the game against Liverpool on Wednesday, and told the Daily Mail that Niasse may not even play before next season, and any minutes he does get before then is merely a bonus as he continues to work hard in training.
"At the moment, Oumar is adapting well," said Martinez. "Now is probably the first period that he had 10 days of complete good work and he's going to get the benefit from it."
"From that to be able to play and to cope with 90 minutes of the demands of the Premier League I think is a very different story. He will benefit with a pre-season and at the start of next season. If he could play some part of the games it would be a bonus but at the moment it is more of an introduction than the star role he can have," he added.
Do you think Niasse should play before the end of the season?