What’s happened to Richarlison?

Brazilian forward Richarlison de Andrade completed his signing to Premier League club Watford for £11.5 million last summer.  The 20 year old made an immediate impact netting his first goal for the Hornets in a 2-0 victory over Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium. His excellent form continued when he sent Watford fans into hysteria by scoring a last minute equaliser in a 2-2 draw against West Bromwich Albion back in September. By then, he had built up a respectable reputation going on to score goals in a 2-1 win over Swansea, 2-0 victory over the Hammers and a 3-2 defeat against Everton. To date, he has contributed 5 goals and 4 assists.

However, his quality has somewhat swayed after not making an impact since late November. He showed his disapproval towards the sacking of Marco Silva by tweeting an angry face, clearly unhappy to see the Portuguese Boss go. Under newly appointed manager Javi Gracia, Richarlison has been given chances to prove himself and admittedly failed to deliver. In recent matches, he has seen to become frustrated with himself, unable to find the back of the net. As a Watford fan, I was disappointed to witness Richarlison throwing his gloves off on the sidelines in anger after being substituted very early in the second half in the 1-0 victory over West Brom at Vicarage Road. To me, this just shows that he needs to fix his attitude and be careful to conduct himself more maturely. Noticeably, Gracia has lost faith with Richarlison as he has benched the striker or subbed him in the 60th/70th minute in recent games, on the other hand under Silva he was used to playing the full 90 minutes. Perhaps, Richarlison doesn’t seem to have the same working relationship with Gracia as he did with Silva. It must be difficult for him playing in England for the first time, learning a new language and adjusting to the change of managers. Undoubtedly, Richarlison played superbly for the Hornets in his time while under Marco Silva, but there may be an underlying issue between him and Gracia causing his dip in form in recent games.

At a point where Richarlison’s performances deteriorated, he took to an interview with ESPN Brazil to call out Javi’s decision on dropping fellow Brazilian goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes from the squad in Watford’s clash with Arsenal at the Emirates. The club claimed Gomes was left out due to ‘personal reasons’, however Heurelho later tweeted just before kick-off that it was the ‘manager’s decision’. Richarlison said Gomes deserved ‘more respect’ from the Spanish man in charge. I didn’t think it was Richarlison’s place to comment on the situation or question the manager’s decision in that matter.

Looking back to the start of the season, where Watford’s Brazilian star was in top form seems like a distant memory. What will it take for him to return form? There has been talks of Chelsea and Arsenal ready to snatch Richarlison for the likes of £40 million. Quite frankly, I don’t believe he is worth that much and at present, I would be happy to let him go and take the money to buy a different striker. Moving forward, Javi Gracia has calmed the waters by stating “In the next games I think he will help us. I don’t know if from the bench or form the beginning. The moments of the players change and you never know the reason, but I think Richarlison started playing without rest when he came here and maybe in this moment he can suffered that situation but I trust him, and believe we have a very good player who can help us.” Who knows where this young Brazilian will be next season…

Can you explain the decline in form Watford fans? Let us know your thoughts on what has gone on in the comments below!

featured image credit Sky Sports