Who could/should got out on loan?
There’s naturally going to be much speculation between now and January and of course a lot depends on what the plans are for incoming players.
The headline is that it seems clear that a confident Anthony Gordon will stay and fight for a first team place with the support of Rafa Benitez and the fanbase who have made their feeling very clear in the recent dark days. His recent performances and now brace for the England Under-21s on debut mean the club will likely have a fan revolt on their hands should they send him out on loan.
Looking firstly at the senior professionals, Jonjoe Kenny and Cenk Tosun, who have barely featured and have their contracts expiring next summer. It is a strong possibility that they will go out on loan to try to earn themselves a contract elsewhere and from the club’s perspective to get their salaries (especially that of Tosun) off the payroll.
Up until a few weeks ago you would definitely have included Fabian Delph in their company but in the unlikeliest of turn-arounds he has arguably been Everton’s best player in the last two matches. It remains unlikely that he will earn or want a contract renewal but the chances are that he may remain with the Blues till his contract expires, such is our need and his influence when fit.
Jarrad Branthwaite is another who is unbelievably out of contract next summer. There are many, myself included, who believe he should be much higher in the pecking order than 5th choice given the erratic performances by his peers. There is much talk of how much faith the club has in Branthwaite, let’s hope they prove it and if he is to be loaned out again that they tie him down to a long contract first. I’m sure I will not be alone in wanting him to stay the second half of the season and to be given a chance.
Players still under contract for one year beyond next summer thus having a dwindling residual transfer value include Yerry Mina, Allan and Tom Davies. There has been speculation about all three and especially Mina, but all have also played a part this season so it is approaching crunch time for them and the club. It is highly unlikely that any will depart the club in January.
Other senior players who have not played much like Mason Holgate, Andre Gomes and Jean-Phillip Gbamin are also likely to be needed unless there are several incoming players who take their place in the squad. The luckless Gbamin for one is however a player who would surely benefit from game time away from Goodison if only he can stay fit and look more like the player he was at Mainz.
Looking at the Under 23s, depending on what the plans are, there are the likes of Ellis Simms, Rhys Hughes and Joe Anderson who are now all aged 20, and all out of contract next summer and probably physically capable of holding their own at a Football League club. If Everton see a club future or an opportunity to get a better fee in the future for them then they may offer fresh terms. These players surely want to progress, they’re all possibilities for loans out. With the return of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Simms is unlikely to get any time with the first team.
Several players like Tyler Onyango, Kyle John, Ryan Astley and Harry Tyrer would appear to be the more experienced backbone of a largely under-performing Under 23 squad. Onyango is likely to be on the fringes of Rafa Benitez’s first team squad anyway but given the strong preference to maintain the club’s status in Premier League 2 (Division 1) the aforementioned names and others like the promising Lewis Dobbin, Isaac Price, Charlie Whitaker, Reece Welch and Tom Cannon will be needed to fight for Everton. The last five names have only really been promoted to the U23 set up in the last twelve months so a Football League club is possibly also too physical at this moment in time. It would be surprising to see any of those names moved out on loan this January.
At the time of writing there are at least eight under 23 players that have rarely if ever featured even at that level, have been overtaken by last year’s Under 18 promotees and have yet to be offered fresh terms. One would assume they would be free to seek new pastures in the summer and, ahead of that, be available for loans.
So, in summary it may be that loans away from Everton at both senior and junior levels will be far fewer than in previous years. The club has to balance what is right for the club with what is right for the individual players. In an ideal world you would want to cater for both but with Financial Fair Play still a factor it may well be that the club has to put itself first either by pushing players out to raise funds or to free up space or indeed by holding them against their will because we cannot afford to bring in replacements.
It is definitely not an ideal world. More than any season we need a circus performer at the helm, a juggler, a trapeze artist maybe to maintain balance .... not what you first thought!