Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe (L) - Stu Forster
Our series analyzing Everton's more substantiated transfer targets continues, and for this post we profile the player whose never-ending transfer saga might finally be nearing a conclusion: Belgian midfielder Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe.
Back in early September, when it appeared that Everton had sewn up a loan deal for Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe of Club Brugge, Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany (and teammate of Odjidja-Ofoe on the Belgian national team) had this to say on Twitter:
Everton fans might not even know it but their club has done an incredible bit of business. Vadis Odjija is a top player, mark my words.— Vincent Kompany (@VincentKompany) September 1, 2012
Everton fans everywhere were ecstatic; surely this move was to go down as yet another of David Moyes's transfer coups. But we all know what happened next: FIFA refused to ratify the loan on the basis that it was not completed before the deadline, Odjidja-Ofoe returned to Club Brugge, and Phil Neville spent a sizable chunk of the last few months as our starting central midfielder.
But now we are well into the January transfer window, and you would think that if all parties involved were still keen on the deal, Odjidja-Ofoe would be with the club and probably starting on Saturday versus Swansea. And yet the Odjidja-Ofoe front has been remarkably quiet as of late. What's going on?
Obviously we can only speculate, but you have to wonder if Club Brugge and Odjidja-Ofoe are both reconsidering their options at this time. With a full month to test the waters of the market, perhaps Club Brugge are starting to wonder if they can't get a lot more money for their star player elsewhere. On the other hand, it could be that Odjidja-Ofoe himself thinks he can do better than Everton and is holding out for guaranteed Champions League football. Then there is the most likely possibility of all: Everton are broke and are haggling over the price tag on the midfielder, with the sale of another player likely required to complete the transfer.
Whatever the reason for the holdup might be, there is little doubt that Everton could really use a player of Odjidja-Ofoe's skill set. While I've seen him described in several places as a defensive midfielder, I think he is more of a box-to-box player who would probably be quite involved in the attack if we were able to sign him. While I am a huge fan of Leon Osman and the contribution he has made to the team this year, a central midfield pairing of Odjidja-Ofoe and Darron Gibson is pretty salty to think about.
It hasn't always been an easy road for Odjidja-Ofoe, however. He never was able to establish himself at either his boyhood team Anderlecht or his second team Hamburger SV, totaling seven appearances in two years. But upon his return to Belgium, Odjidja-Ofoe quickly established himself as a force in Club Brugge's lineup, scoring 14 goals in 117 games. He has continued to play consistently since his failed loan move to Everton, though his team finished last in their group in the Europa League and currently only sits in fourth in their domestic league.
There have been the slightest of rumblings that Odjidja-Ofoe might have a bit of an attitude problem, but the only evidence I can find for this is a dispute with former manager George Leekens, who was upset over his player's apparent lack of interest in his current team and desire for a transfer. But I wouldn't worry about that too much, as David Moyes has no time for players who are not 100% invested in the team and its collective goals. If Odjidja-Ofoe does end up signing with Everton, count on a player with technical ability and all the talent in the world, with the perfect manager to harness that potential.