Surely no one in the Goodison Park dressing room would have celebrated the sacking of Ronald Koeman more vociferously than Oumar Niasse.
The previously out-of-favour striker was never given a fair crack of the whip by Koeman at Everton, famously telling the Guardian in October 2016 that he had been stripped of his shirt number, his locker and forced to train with the reserves in an attempted to force him out of the club.
Niasse’s chances of first-team football at Everton looked so remote that he was even disappointed to miss out on a move to Crystal Palace in the summer transfer window.
The Times report that the Senegalese striker had undergone a medical on transfer deadline day prior to a £7 million move to The Eagles. After Palace rejected his representative’s demands for a six-figure agent fee, however, Niasse is understood to have stormed out of the club’s offices with his move having fallen through.
Two months on, however, Palace’s failure to get the deal over the line is looking increasingly costly. The London club’s goalscoring problems are well established this season after all.
It took them a record seven games to open their account for the season and, after 11 league fixtures, Palace still only have four goals and four points. Niasse, meanwhile, has scored the same tally all by himself himself – from just two starts and six appearances overall.
Since Koeman’s sacking in October, Niasse has played a central role and looks set to finally nail down a place at Everton.
The 27-year-old has been a bright spark in an otherwise disastrous season for The Toffees so far. And it seems that Palace came agonisingly close to signing a striker who would have given their toothless attack some much-needed bite.