As the Premier League returns this week, so does the gloom currently surrounding Goodison Park.
Everton have not made a good start to the season and so far, there have been very few pieces of hope for beleaguered Evertonians to hold onto. As a result, a story suggesting that the Blues will look to bring back Henry Onyekuru from his loan at Anderlecht in January was always going to get people talking.
The young Belgian has been considered a top talent for some time and his strong performances on loan with Anderlecht, where he has managed five goals in 12 games so far, have only helped to raise the excitement surrounding him.
Certainly among the Everton fan base, who believe he could bring the pace that this current team is desperately lacking in.
The article, which originated from 90 Minutes Goal, suggested Everton would use the “exceptional talent” argument to try and convince the authorities to grant Onyekuru a Governing Body Endorsement.
Unfortunately, the chances of that are slim at this moment in time. The current rules state that a player must score four points or more from a set of strict criteria, all of which can be found below.
Now a player who scores points for one of the aspects listed in Part A cannot score for the same in Part B, for example on transfer fees.
As it stands, Onyekuru is only eligible for two points from the above criteria, and they are the following:
The player’s current club has played in the group stages or onwards of a Continental Competition within the last 12 months and the player has played in 30% or more of the Available Minutes.
The player’s current club is in a Secondary League and the player has played in at least 30% of the Available Minutes.
Onyekuru has currently played in two Champions League fixtures this season, managing 121 minutes of football in the process and thus earns a point for that.
He has also featured in all but one Belgian League game this season, racking up 543 minutes, so comfortably qualifies there.
Unfortunately, they are the only places Onyekuru qualifies for points as his transfer fee/wages do not qualify him in either Part A or Part B and he has not made enough international appearances to gain a point in that regard either.
Now, that does mean Onyekuru does not have a chance. He may still be granted a GBE regardless of not meeting the above criteria, with the rules stating this:
“If a player scores fewer than 4 points by reference to the Part A objective criteria and a Cumulative Total Score of fewer than 5 points under the Part A and Part B objective criteria, the Exceptions Panel is guided to refuse a GBE unless it is satisfied, following its subjective review, that the player is internationally established at the highest level and that his employment will make a significant contribution to the development of football at the highest level in England.”
Unfortunately, that would also be a hard sell for Everton. Onyekuru may appear to be a top talent in the making but he is neither “internationally established” nor ready to “make a significant contribution to the development of football at the highest level in England.”
So for now it seems Onyekuru will be staying in Belgium until the end of the season, unless Everton can convince the Exceptions Panel to go against all the evidence and vote in their favour.
Ronald Koeman and his team will have to find their saviour(s) from somewhere else in January, preferably in the shape of a new striker.