There is no timetable for Aaron Lennon’s return. Yannick Bolasie and Seamus Coleman are dealing with long term injuries, and it’s unlikely Gerard Deulofeu ever dons an Everton shirt again. Kevin Mirallas is the only active true winger on the Blues’ roster, and the need for another creative wide player has been front and center as this year’s campaign draws to a close.
Enter Anthony Knockaert. Clearly the catalyst behind Brighton’s ascension to the Premier League, the Frenchman had 15 goals and 8 assists this season in 45 appearances. 25 years old, Knockaert has been bought by Steve Walsh once before - in 2013, when he moved from Ligue 1 side Guingamp to Leicester City.
Knockaert was exiled to the Belgian Jupiler league for a time, but since moving to Brighton in 2015 has been one of the best players in the English Championship. Everton are rumored to be willing to spend up to £20 million, but it’s unlikely it would take quite that much to pry him away from the Seagulls.
Given his age and lack of first division experience, Knockaert would probably not be expected by Ronald Koeman to have a regular starting role. However, as creative cover for Ross Barkley and others, Everton could do a lot worse. Knockaert gets his goals, and sets them up for others, too.
Anthony Knockaert, Brighton 16-17. Lovingly referred to around the office as Big Knockers, he's been one of the best in the Champ for 2 yrs pic.twitter.com/SUjMsxxRQP— Ted Knutson (@mixedknuts) April 20, 2017
Either way, this should be an interesting situation to keep tabs on as the summer goes along. Brighton may be very hesitant to sell their leading man, but may not have a choice if Knockaert wants to ply his trade at a club playing in Europe.