Everton have signed midfielder Beni Baningime to a new deal today. The youngster had been the subject of some unwelcome attention from Manchester United with his current contract expiring at the end of the current season, but the Blues have put that to rest with a new two-and-a-half-year deal that the player signed.
The Congo-born holding midfielder had been attracting attention from other Premier League clubs after his key role in leading the Toffees Under-23 side to the Premier League 2 title, with manager David Unsworth saying he is in the N’Golo Kante mold of defensive stalwarts.
Speaking to evertontv after signing the contract, the player said -
“I am very, very happy – thrilled to sign the contract. I have been working so hard for this and I am just glad David Unsworth and his staff have given me this opportunity.
“My ambition is to make the first team but I will have to see what happens. That is my dream, to play in Everton’s first team. It has been ever since I came here.
“My progress has been fantastic. And it is all down to the coaching staff. Everything about my game, they have helped me with it all and I am extremely grateful.
“I speak to Tom Davies and Jonjoe Kenny and they really want to do well, which inspires you to want to do it as well. So, hopefully, it will happen for me.
“They are both great talents - but it is the hard work and how they conduct themselves which is really good.”
His manager Unsworth added -
“We are delighted. Beni has been brilliant through a period of time for us since he came through the ranks with the Under-18s. He was great last year when we won the league. He was a consistently-outstanding performer and we are all just delighted.
“He is a terrific lad, very, very humble - and desperate to be an Everton footballer. And he is on the right path to doing that.
“I cannot speak highly enough of him. He is brilliant to work with. When you have a humble lad, who has talent and is desperate to learn and take on information, he is a pleasure to manage.
“He has the ingredients to be a top player. We just have to take it step by step. We think very highly of him and that has been shown with the offer of a new contract.
“We just have to plot the next couple of stages of his career now, which we do with every player.
“But we will be looking for Beni to kick on now. In the next 12-18 months we would hope he will get some minutes in the Football League - potentially with a loan move to the right club at the right time to further his development and continue his progression.”
Born in Kinshasa, Congo, Baningime moved to the United Kingdom at age 8 and was immediately signed up to the Everton Academy where he has been since. He captained the Under-18s to the Dallas Cup trophy in 2016, and at the end of last season was awarded the Keith Tamlin award (named after the Club’s Vice Life President) for his excellence, attitude and application during his time spent in the Academy.
Baningime has 25 appearances for the Under-23s with one goal in that time playing as a defensive midfielder. Similar in playing style to Idrissa Gueye, it might not be long before we see the 19-year-old in matchday squads for the Blues.