The weekend’s defeat to West Bromwich Albion may have soured the mood around Everton a little, but the fact remains that the transfer window just closed was a particularly successful one. Signing in late on the final day of the market – subject to ratification from FIFA – was Belgium midfielder Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe, a player not much is known about by Goodison Park regulars but one whom much can be expected of judging by the plaudits coming his way.
Odjidja-Ofoe’s international colleague Vincent Kompany, the Manchester City captain, wrote on Twitter
Speaking to A Different League the editor of the Belgian Waffle, Chris Mayer, added that if he had to pick three words with which to describe Odjidja-Ofoe, they would be: “Grafter, catalyst, underrated. The last one is more for [Brugge] coach George Leekens, who seems to like yes men, which Vadis is not.”
Mayer continued: “Leekens recently said he doesn’t want to work with anyone who wants to leave and Odjidja-Ofoe is one of them. It was probably the right time to leave, with a lot of incoming players this summer and his shunning by the coach.
Odjidja-Ofoe has ventured away from Belgium before, to Hamburg in January 2008, but was back in Belgium a year and a half later. Mayer noted that Odjidja-Ofoe was “young and inexperienced” when he moved to Germany and struggled to break into an experienced Hamburg side. But three years later, Mayer backs Odjidja-Ofoe will settle better at Goodison Park. “He’s now played 100 games or so for Club Brugge and over the past two years, has been their most consistent player. I’m much more confident he’ll do well at Everton now he has that experience.”
Goodison is fast becoming a little corner of Belgium, as Odjidja-Ofoe joins Kevin Mirallas and Marouane Fellaini on Merseyside. Mayer believes that the presence of two compatriots will help Odjidja-Ofoe at his new club, while adding that the arrival of Mirallas alongside Fellaini generated much talk in Belgium. “Mirallas has spent all his senior career out of the county. But he’s still thought of reasonably highly I think. The bigger deal was him joining up alongside Fellaini.
“It’s a great move for [Mirallas]. I only saw a bit of him at Olympiakos last year where he was brilliant at cutting in from the left. For Belgium, he blows hot and cold, but against Holland recently, he impressed me with his work ethic. I think that was a big thing for David Moyes, as when Mirallas is not scoring he can be relied upon to drive the team.”
Fellaini, meanwhile, is said by Mayer to be as popular in Belgium as he is at Goodison. “For me, he’s one of two untouchables in the national team, the other being Kompany. When I went to Wembley in the summer for the England game, I saw two things – World Cup 2014 T-shirts and Fellaini wigs. An absolute hero.”
Fellaini has grown to become a vital part of Moyes’ side, and Mayer revealed his fine form has resonated back home. “There’s a big craving for Premier League football, perhaps level or above the domestic league itself. They’ve noticed how great he’s been for Everton and for my money, is one of the best players in the division. But I would say that.” Evertonians would agree.
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