Everton have finally discovered Richarlison replacement they’ve been crying out for

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Amadou Onana has found consistency in recent games for Everton to match his fervency.

It was sentiment that Frank Lampard repeated persistently as his Everton tenure came to a close. Even after his final game, a 2-0 loss to West Ham United, he maintained the point of view.

With results dwindling, performances deteriorating and goals at a paucity, Lampard pointed to the fact that the Toffees had lost Richarlison to the fact why they were languishing in the drop zone.

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The Brazil international had been the talisman to rescue Everton from their plight of the 2021-22 season. The player who spearheaded the Blues to Premier League survival with his gusto and zeal.

When he left for Tottenham Hotspur last summer, there was scarcely a fan who begrudged him. Richarlison had worn his heart on his sleeve throughout his four years at Goodison Park and deserved an opportunity at playing in the Champions League.

The fact that the versatile forward's been a peripheral figure in north London has made it more frustrating for Everton throughout a second season in a Premier League relegation scrap.

Amid their lacklustre run of results, characters to lift the Blues were insufficient. Players to inspire sparse. James Tarkowski and Conor Coady have offered leadership, particularly at the start of the season. Jordan Pickford has continued to perform at a top level. But the fervour of Richarlison had been found wanting.

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However, in recent weeks, there have been signs that Richarlison's void can finally be filled. It's been Amadou Onana who has taken up that mantle.

Signed from Lille for a fee of up to £33 million last summer, the midfielder was purchased for the present and the future. He arrived with a compelling reputation and had been given a ringing endorsement from ex-Everton manager Roberto Martinez - calling Onana one of the best prospects in Europe.

Aged only 21, it's not a surprise that Onana's form has been somewhat up-and-down. Sometimes, it's easy to forget he's still in the infancy of his career. Yet commitment and passion have always been there. He instantly struck up a rapport with Evertonians and displayed the vehemence those in the stands relish.

Now consistency in his performances is starting to come to the fore. Onana was one of the few players to turn up in the 2-1 loss to Southampton, in which he headed home his maiden Toffees goals. It was similar in the meek loss at West Ham that spelt the end of Lampard's reign.

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And in Sean Dyche's first game as manager, Onana's performance in the 1-0 victory over league leaders Arsenal earned him rave reviews. Plenty concurred he was man-of-the-match for his all-action display. He dominated in the engine room alongside Idrissa Gana Gueye and Abdoulaye Doucoure. The Belgium international made four tackles and two interceptions, along with two key passes. He should have had an assist but for Dominic Calvert-Lewin to be a hair's breadth away from converting his cross. The Gunners' trio of Martin Odegaard, Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka were dominated - with Onana profusely why.

It had only been the previous week that Onana had been linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium. But he reportedly made it clear he wanted to see out the campaign at Goodison Park and ensure that relegation was avoided.

At full-time, Onana beat his chest and fist-pumped the enraptured supporters who'd been starved of a victory for more than three months.

Before last weekend, large sections of Evertonians had been resigned to the fact that relegation was the fate their club would suffer this season. Dyche's pragmatism and nous in the hot seat has restored belief - as well as Onana's quality and ardour.

He may not be the attacking menace like Richarlison. Onana gives Everton different attributes but the same resolve.

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