Everton’s newest recruit Oumar Niasse has revealed how former Blue Manuel Fernandes recommended he make the move to Goodison Park.
Fernandes, who had loan spells with the Toffees in 2007 and 2008, played alongside the £13.5million man at his former club Lokomotiv Moscow.
Niasse has explained how the pair built up a strong relationship and his friend’s advice rubber-stamped his decision to swap the Russian top-flight for the Premier League.
In his exclusive first interview, the forward told evertontv: “He [Fernandes] is one of my best friends in the [Lokomotiv] team. We played together in Turkey for different clubs but then we joined Lokomotiv at the same time. It was so easy for me and him to make a connection.
“He is like a big brother to me - I am always asking him [for advice]. When Everton showed interest in me I asked him and he said it’s a great Club and if I can go I should go.
“He said that if I had the opportunity I should take that flight because Everton is a great Club and Liverpool as a city is good. He has said a lot of good things about here.”
Niasse, a pacy forward capable of operating through the middle or down the flanks, also believes his dynamic, energetic style is perfectly suited for England.
He is now excited about the prospect of playing in what he believes is one of the top divisions in world football.
The 25-year-old arrives on Merseyside having been named 2015 Russian player of the year, thanks largely to his 13 goals and 10 assists.
Speaking about his attributes, the Senegal international added: “For Lokomotiv in the past two years I have played virtually alone up front, always moving for the winger to come behind me, or the midfielder.
“If I have the opportunity to score, I’m going to go forward to score but if I don’t have it, then the good positions I get into for the other players will leave them the space.
“I’ve come here to progress my game and my quality and I know the manager and the players here will help me. Everton is a better team than Lokomotiv and the Premier League is better than Russia, so I know I have to improve and get better too.
“No matter what I did this season with Lokomotiv, I know I can give more, score goals and provide assists and help my new team to be better as well.”