It takes quite a lot to scare Gennaro Gattuso.
This is a man who went nose-to-nose with Joe ‘Jaws’ Jordan after all. A man who once quipped ‘the only thing I fear is death’.
Well, death and Richarlison’s mammoth price-tag, it seems.
During the summer of 2019, Gattuso wanted a new striker at AC Milan. The Serie A giants identified Everton’s number seven as their top target and, according to Milan News, sporting director Leonardo even opened talks with Richarlison’s representatives.
That was, however, until Everton made it clear that the mardy-faced Brazilian would be going nowhere for a penny less than £55 million – a fee that ‘scared’ off Gattuso’s Milan, the cash-strapped Rossoneri running for the hills and straight into the arms of Eintracht Frankfurt’s Ante Rebic.
And while Rebic impressed in his debut season, Gattuso must have wondered whether Richarlison could have made the difference between Champions League qualification and European football.
The former Watford starlet would produce the most prolific season of his Premier League career in 2019/20, scoring 15 goals while Milan finished a disappointing sixth.
Will Gattuso finally work with Richarlison at Everton?
But if you can’t sign them, join them.
With Wayne Rooney committed to Derby, with Graham Potter going nowhere and with the Belgium FA refusing to release Roberto Martinez ahead of the Qatari World Cup, Gattuso’s availability could give Farhad Moshiri and co food for thought.
A world-leading central midfielder in his playing days, the future looks bright for Gattuso the manager too.
A more mellow, considered character these days – well, most of the time – Gattuso guided a crisis-hit AC Milan side to the verge of Champions League qualification before leading Napoli to Coppa Italia glory in 2020.
If Goodison Park is Gattuso’s next step, he’ll be hoping Richarlison will be worth the wait.