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Everton 2021-22 Season: End of Contract Player Departures

The Blues have a number of players who will be out of contract soon with decisions needing to be made regarding their futures

Watford v Everton - Premier League Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Everton’s financial issues have been well-documented, specifically as pertains to the Premier League’s profitability & sustainability regulations. Despite the club registering a small player trading profit this season and reducing the wage bill, it still has some way to go before Frank Lampard will be able to enjoy a free hand in transfer dealings. Key will be removing excess player wages and the most immediate way to achieve this is through allowing those whose contracts will expire in the coming month to move on.

But will this be the correct decision in all cases, or do some deserve to be extended? Here, I take a look at those players currently at Everton but who could be leaving the club by the end of June.

Everton v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images

Donny van de Beek

on loan from Manchester United until May 31st

Acquiring the midfielder looked like something of a coup back on the final day of the winter transfer window, as Lampard was announced as Everton’s new manager. Highly thought of upon arriving at Manchester United in September 2020 in a £35m capture from Dutch giants Ajax, he’d failed to establish himself as a first team regular with the Red Devils, but would surely find opportunities to impress easier at the Merseyside outfit.

However, such were the midfield problems at the Blues, van de Beek found himself deployed far deeper than he was accustomed to, depriving him of many chances to get forward and display his clever movement and finishing qualities in and around the opposition penalty area. Everton had previously attempted to get him on loan last summer as well.

The Dutchman is on substantial wages at United and with his old Ajax Amsterdam manager, Erik ten Hag taking over at Old Trafford, a potential move for the midfielder appears highly unlikely.

Verdict: unattainable

Andy Lonergan

signed August 21st 2021

The veteran goalkeeper joined last summer to add experienced backup as the team’s third goalkeeper, thanks to his previous relationship with Rafa Benitez. The 38-year old saw no competitive action during the season and whether he is extended or not will largely depend on how useful he was during training sessions at Finch Farm. He will be on minimal wages, so this is hardly a decision that will impact Everton’s finances in any way.

Verdict: release

Asmir Begovic

signed July 20th 2021

The Bosnian deputised ably for number one goalkeeper Jordan Pickford when called upon, though due to the Englishman’s improved form was not really able to provide genuine competition, as Robin Olsen had done during the previous season. Begovic, who turns 35 next month, started seven matches, mostly in the cup competitions and didn’t let the team down when he appeared. He’s not on big wages and Everton will likely extend his contract by another 12 months.

Verdict: retain

Everton v Brentford: The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round
Injuries have dogged Cenk Tosun in recent years with Everton and it is time for him to go
Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Cenk Tosun

signed for £20.3m from Besiktas January 5th 2018

It’s a bit of a head-shaker when you realize that it has been four and a half years since the Turkey international arrived at Goodison Park, ironically also when the Blues were last facing a relegation battle. The striker has seemingly had one foot out of the door for half that time, but at last his contract comes to an end next month.

The striker played a combined eleven minutes of football last season and once again spent much of the time out with a variety of injuries. Whilst he’s not one of the club’s higher earners, Tosun does command a sizeable wage and offers next to nothing, so bidding him farewell is a no-brainer.

Verdict: release

Fabian Delph

signed for £8.5m from Manchester City July 15th 2019

A low fee for a well-regarded player with a chequered fitness record seemed a reasonable gamble to take, but across three years he’s only managed to play 35 league matches and coming into April any thoughts of renewing his contract would have been unlikely, to say the least.

However, the midfielder made a major contribution down the stretch, making five appearances which resulted in an invaluable eleven points as the Blues battled the drop. Delph showed his worth, a disciplined and calming influence in the centre of the park and poignantly, what the team had been desperately been missing. At 32 it is unlikely that the former England man will suddenly become less susceptible to injury, illustrated once more by him missing crucial matches at Goodison against Brentford and Crystal Palace.

Delph is likely on close to £100,000 per week wages and would have to agree to halve that figure if Lampard was to consider offering him an extension. Whether this happens will largely depend on the availability of other midfield targets.

Verdict: release

Anwar El Ghazi

on loan from Aston Villa until June 30th

In a bizarre episode that kind of encapsulated Everton’s year, the winger arrived on loan from Villa as Lucas Digne went the other way, in what were apparently unrelated deals. El Ghazi had looked a decent squad player at the midlands club, but found no favour on Merseyside, clocking up a pitiful 13 minutes of competitive action for the Toffees. It’s hard not to feel a little sorry for the Dutchman, who appeared keen to make an impression but barely got a kick. Clearly, Everton will not be availing themselves of the option to buy that was included in the loan deal.

Verdict: release

Arsenal v Everton - Premier League
Jonjoe Kenny making what could be his final appearance in an Everton shirt
Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Jonjoe Kenny

That the Academy product, who spent most of the previous two seasons out on loan, ended up playing more than 1,000 minutes for the Blues this term is a bit of a head-scratcher. Symptomatic of a lack of depth in both full back positions, Kenny was plugged in as and when needed by Rafa Benitez, but surprisingly enjoyed a run in the team under Lampard. The defender is on a low salary, but even so it is hard to imagine the club couldn’t easily replace him, perhaps with someone offering a little more to his game, possibly from the Academy if needed.

The boyhood Evertonian probably isn’t a Premier League standard player for all his enthusiasm and commitment to the cause, and it is time to let him leave in order to find his level.

Verdict: release

Gylfi Sigurdsson

signed for £44.5m from Swansea City August 16th 2017

For reasons that I won’t go into, the club’s record signing did not kick a ball this season and of course will be departing the Toffees at the end of June. The Icelander commands a wage in excess of £100k pw, the removal of which will contribute to rebalancing Everton’s finances and possibly give Lampard a little more room for manoeuvering in the transfer market this summer.

Verdict: release