Yannick Bolasie was one of the Premier League’s standout performers throughout the 2015/16 season, turning defenders inside-out on a weekly basis for Crystal Palace.
Still, some eyebrows were raised when Everton elected to spend a hefty £25 million on the Democratic Republic of Congo international in the summer of 2016. For Bolasie, it represented the next chapter in a career which had taken him from Non-League football to the glittering heights of England’s top-flight. Ten years prior to the move, Bolasie was paid £20 after his football debut for Hillingdon.
“It’s so much money, but I knew I was worth it,” Bolasie tells FourFourTwo of the Toffees transfer, now. “I could see what I did on the pitch. I took people out of the game. In one-versus-one situations, I fancied myself all day long.
“At one point, Crystal Palace gaffer Alan Pardew started to play me through the middle because he knew I could draw two markers, which made space for the likes of Wilf, Jason Puncheon and Glenn Murray.
“My game wasn’t all about goals and assists; it was also about the little things that people didn’t see as often. I knew my worth to Palace and knew what I could bring to Everton – that’s why they wanted to sign me so much.”
Unfortunately for both Bolasie and Everton, the winger would suffer a devastating ACL rupture against Manchester United in December that year. The injury robbed Bolasie of much of his pace and agility and, ultimately, led to the decline of his career.
Bolasie went on a series of loans in an attempt to get his fitness back, including at Aston Villa, Middlesbrough and Sporting in Portugal. Sadly, he never recovered the form which made Everton shell out so much money in the first place.