Richarlison has proved to be one of the Premier League signings of the summer.
Watford beat Ajax to the Brazilian’s signature for £11 million during the summer, and the 20 year old has made an instant impact at Vicarage Road.
The Hornets have made their best ever start to a Premier League season, and Richarlison has played a huge role in their impressive performances. The former Fluminese winger/attacker has scored five goals and registered three assists for the club in just 12 matches.
His attacking flair, and eye-catching dribbling has excited Watford fans, who have already dedicated a chant to their new Brazilian star.
Richarlison has also won two penalties for the club, and is statistically the most fouled player in the Premier League. He has appeared utterly undaunted at Watford, which is understandable given his tough upbringing in Brazil.
“I remember when I was growing up in Brazil, a guy once pointed a gun at my face because he thought I was a drug dealer trying to steal his distribution point,” he told the Telegraph. “That was my life. After that, playing Chelsea seems much easier!”
It is often considered risky bringing players from different football cultures such as Brazil to the Premier League, given the unique style, physicality, and competitive nature of English football. However, Richarlison has hit the ground running, and is often as impressive for his work off the ball as his skill on it.
The former Atletico Mineiro starlet has a good workrate and an impressive engine, which is illustrated by the fact that he has completed 90 minutes in 10 league matches already this season. Fluminese manager Abel Braga has given this aforementioned athleticism as the reason for Richarlison’s instant impact at Vicarage Road.
“Normally, if you look at great Brazilian attackers who went to Europe, they had difficulties adapting,” he told Reuters. “Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Neymar, a series of players. But Richarlison is an athlete. He is very strong physically, and likes the duel with defenders.”
In an era of outrageous transfer fees, £11 million represents a coup for a player of Richarlison’s quality, particularly given his youth and potential sell-on fee. He has been one of the bargain buys of the summer, along with Brighton’s capture of Pascal Groß, who also deserves a mention.
Richarlison has yet to earn a call up for Brazil at senior level, but his upward trajectory has been remarkable given that this is just his third season at senior level, and his first in Europe.
Watford bos Marco Silva played a big role in bringing Richarlison – who originally had an agreement to move to Ajax – to Vicarage Road, and if the in-demand manager leaves the club, Richarlison is likely to be hot on his heels. Spurs have been heavily linked with the skillful winger, and other big clubs will soon come knocking if the 20 year old can maintain his form.
“We are talking about a fantastic talent, a very, very good player,” Silva says. “I’m sure in the future he’ll achieve everything he can.”
Whether that is at Watford or elsewhere remains to be seen, but Richarlison could be destined for big things.