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I suspect you are right. The moment to keep him was probably Ancelotti, had that worked out better..
...if he'd stayed and we'd not had this FFP stuff stopping us spending again as we did the previous summer.
But it would take a large dose of loyalty (or stupidity!) for him to stick around waiting for things to get better given the current situation.
...he nearly ALWAYS puts that amount of effort in! He runs and runs and runs and runs, he chases and harries, and he just wants to WIN. He wants to SCORE and he wants to WIN. His reaction when Arsenal scored last night was pure FURY - he was actually punching the turf, and not for the first time.
The problem is - nights like last night are few and far between for us. It's increasingly rare that his consistently monumental efforts and passion are rewarded as they were last night, and even then, it would have been very easy for his head to go down after 2 disallowed goals and putting SO much effort into getting them.
I desperately hope I'm wrong, but sadly- big picture wise - I don't think last night changes THAT much with Richarlison's position. I said a few weeks ago - why would someone that loves scoring goals and winning SO much stay at a club where 9 times out of 10, his clever runs either aren't spotted or the necessary through ball can't be executed, where crosses hit the first man and where he doesn't get anywhere near the return that his efforts and his skills deserve? Why stay there when he could easily join a team where he WILL receive that service, where those runs WILL be spotted and the necessary passes executed, and where most crosses will be like Townsend's last night for his first disallowed goal?
I absolutely love the bloke (just as I did Lukaku, but like you I do feel more of a connection to Richarlison, as he clearly seems to feel more of a connection to us) but sadly, I can't see him being with us that much longer and I couldn't begrudge him a move that would reward his hard work and incredible skills - I honestly think he could be a great GREAT player, but I think staying with us lessens the chances of that.
I'll be gutted when he leaves, that's for sure - and I think he will be too.