Shani Tarashaj 21 Striker Eintracht Frankfurt Switzerland
Swiss forward Shani Tarashaj is on loan in the Bundesliga from Everton, for whom he signed from Grasshopper Club Zurich in January. Born into Switzerland’s now-familiar Kosovar/Albanian diaspora, Tarashaj joined Grasshoppers as a youth in 2008, but his first team career there was short-lived.
He made his debut in August 2014 and attracted an offer from Everton despite a relatively sparse collection of impressive games. But he’d ended 2015 well and continued his form on loan at Grasshoppers after the turn of the year.
2016 has been…
An interrupted step into the Premier League. Tarashaj saw out the 2015/16 season in Switzerland, ending the campaign with eleven goals from 26 Swiss Super League starts. Only three of those goals came after his Everton switch, but his overall play won’t have disappointed his parent club. He was named Swiss Young Player of the Year and made his Switzerland debut, both inside 2016. It’s fair to say the year began well.
This season has been a different story. He’s now on loan at Eintracht Frankfurt and has started only once in the Bundesliga. His season has been disrupted hugely by a bout of illness and the associated lack of match fitness. He is, however, off the mark in terms of goalscoring. He played a single minute at UEFA EURO 2016, too, and his presence in that squad speaks volumes of his potential.
Stylistically, Tarashaj is yet another one of those players. An inherently creative second striker, he looks to score and create but plays a game that’s primarily about dynamism, mobility and making a bloody nuisance of himself. He likes to drop in and link play, and he’s industrious, nippy and tenacious. Nothing is a lost cause in the channels and his work off the ball is characterised by smart runs and loads of hustle.
He’s fantastic at finding space and has a good first touch. It’s his second that’s perhaps not quite so accomplished, but when he has a sniff of goal his movement is first class and his finishing natural with both feet.
Though a little weaker than some opponents physically and therefore sometimes easy to dispossess, Tarashaj is a lovely dribbler at speed. He loves to peel away into the left channel to create space for himself, and his drop of the shoulder can be lethal.
Oh, and he’s quadrilingual. Decent.
Quite apart from the challenge of establishing a place in a Switzerland set-up that seems to churn out players of his type for fun, Tarashaj has club matters to attend to. In the first instance, getting himself fit and making the most of his loan in Germany is key in 2017.
His return to Everton represents a challenge in its own right. The Toffees have changed coaches since he was signed to play under Roberto Martinez in January, and we can only hope being loaned out by Ronald Koeman is a positive indicator for the future, not a suggestion of the Dutchman’s assessment of his new charge.
C Changes at Everton might do him more harm than good
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