UPDATE: 8am EST / 1pm BST
⬅️ | Defender Matthew Pennington has moved to @LUFC on a season-long loan. Good luck, @mpennington94! #EFC https://t.co/xZnbXlI67x pic.twitter.com/bp9t4ckNiR— Everton (@Everton) July 19, 2017
After reports yesterday that Everton defender Matthew Pennington could be headed out on loan with Hull City interested, we have news that it's Leeds United who have jumped that deal for the youngster.
The report comes from Yorkshire Evening Post's chief football writer Phil Hay via Twitter, and Pennington has not been included in the squad on their latest trip to the Netherlands:
One centre-back almost in the bag for Leeds United - Matthew Pennington on season-long loan from Everton. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) July 18, 2017
This move is not necessarily a surprise, as the 22 year old only featured three times in the league for the Toffees last term. However, it does raise interesting questions in terms of transfer plans for the rest of this window. It seems now nearly certain that Everton will seek to add a defender, with reports out that a player is desired who can cover both the center back position as well as for Leighton Baines on the left.
The center half has previously had loan spells at Coventry City, Tranmere Rovers and Walsall as well.
Everton has already added Michael Keane and Cuco Martina to their defensive stockade this summer and at least one more reinforcement looks to be on its way. It will be interesting to see if Leeds United serves as a springboard for future success in Everton or if the Championship turns out to be more his actual level. His current contract runs through 2019 so there is still time for that decision to be made, though the current transfer pursuits of the club seem to point in a negative direction for Pennington.
In the past, Ross Barkley has also spent time at Leeds on a one month loan under Neil Warnock, a time he didn't look back at with much joy.
Pennington signed an extension last season that keeps him with the team until the end of the 2018-19 season. This loan appears to be his chance to prove his ability to play regularly in the backline. He has made nine appearances for the senior squad overall, with 46 appearances for the Under-23 side.