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03rd Feb 2016

Everton’s big-money signing couldn’t get a game in Norway’s third tier

'I saw nothing in him'

Tom Victor

Many Everton fans will see new £13.5m signing Oumar Niasse as a blank slate.

The Senegalese striker, who has joined the Toffees from Lokomotiv Moscow, is an unknown quantity for many in the UK.

But that’s better than the reputation he enjoys in Norway, where he couldn’t even get a game for SK Brann’s second string in the third-tier.

‘Hands up those who saw it coming! No one at Brann Stadium is close to moving their arms,’ Norwegian journalist Anders Pamer wrote in Brann’s local paper Bergens Tidende.

‘I saw nothing in him. He seemed limp and half-interested,‘ Pamer added.

‘Never in the world would I have thought three-and-a-half years later he would arrive at Goodison Park as one of the club’s most expensive player ever. Never! But I was wrong, and Brann was wrong.’

Niasse would not be the first superstar to prove people wrong after a slow start to his career.

Southampton frontman Graziano Pellè didn’t hit double-figures for a top-flight team until the age of 27, only to then fire home 80 goals in three-and-a-half seasons.

Even more sensationally, an official at Edin Džeko’s first club claimed he believed they’d “won the lottery” after receiving a €25,000 bid for the player – six years later he’d be joining Manchester City for 1,000 times that amount.

Was Niasse a poor player in Norway? It certainly seems so, but it looks like Everton are buying a very different player to the one who flopped at Brann.