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Deulofeu returns to Barcelona - but there is still hope for Everton

Gerard Deulofeu has been promoted to the Barca first-team ahead of next season, but Everton may still do some business with the Catalan club this summer.

Paul Thomas

The 19-year-old often dazzled and frustrated in equal measure during his 29 appearances last season but there was no doubting his ability and most Blues hoped he would return next year.

There were reports earlier this month that a second loan deal had been agreed, but the appointment of Luis Enrique as new Barcelona manager has changed all that.

Enrique has recalled Deulofeu from his loan and promoted him to the Barcelona first-team from Barca 'B' along with Rafinha, who spent last season at Celta Vigo.

However, that does not necessarily mean he will not be signing for Everton next season. After all it is only sensible for a manager to assess his new squad upon taking the job.

I'm sure the Barcelona coaching staff will monitor Deulofeu's progress and work out whether he would benefit more from being in and around the Barca squad (but not necessarily playing every week) or having regular game time at Everton.

Should the deal not go ahead then it would be disappointing but not the end of the world - most Everton fans accepted that a second loan spell was always going to be seen as a bonus.

Sky Sports also claim that Everton may choose instead to sign another Barcelona youngster on-loan for next season.

Roberto Martinez - a Catalan himself don't forget - obviously has good relations with Barcelona and that friendship can only have been strengthened by the way Deulofeu has improved under his stewardship.

If that can result in Everton having the pick of the La Masia academy every summer, then the club will have landed a very impressive coup indeed.