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Everton 2021-22 Season Review: Players That Left the Club

How did those players that departed Everton over the past 12 months fare?

Everton v Crystal Palace - Premier League Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

A number of senior Everton players bid a permanent farewell to the Blue half of Merseyside during the last two transfer windows. Here we take a look into how they’ve gotten on in their post-Everton careers (so far).

Muhamed Besic

Besic finally brought his injury-blighted seven year stint at the Blues to a close last summer, having made his last appearance for the team way back in December 2017. Leaving on a free transfer, he signed for former club Ferencvaros in September 2021. The Bosnian international has resurrected his career at a lower level, making 20 appearances (having played no competitive club football at all during the 2020/21 season) and lifting the Hungarian league title.

Matthew Pennington

The academy product had spent the final four seasons of his time at Everton on loan at a variety of clubs, before his contract expired in May last year. The centre half, who had made nine appearances in all competition for the Toffees between 2015-2017 joined League One outfit Shrewsbury Town, having enjoyed a productive temporary spell with the Shropshire club the previous campaign. The 27-year old played the full 90 minutes in all but one league match last season.

Heart of Midlothian v Aberdeen FC - Cinch Scottish Premiership
Beni Baningime in action against Aberdeen north of the border
Photo by Bruce White/SNS Group via Getty Images

Beni Baningime

The youngster looked like he may eventually break into the first team during the 2017/18 season, but the next three years were a story of wasted opportunity and strange non-playing loan spells at Wigan Athletic and Derby County. On July 29th last year the midfielder was sold to Heart of Midlothian for £900k and since heading north of the border he has thrived. Now 23 years of age, the academy graduate formed quite an impression in the Scottish Premiership, making 27 appearances (25 starts) before succumbing to a cruciate ligament knee injury in April which could unfortunately keep him out of action until Christmas.

Yannick Bolasie

A big-money signing from Crystal Palace six years ago, the winger’s Everton career was quickly derailed by a serious knee injury, which side-lined him for more than 12 months. He didn’t look the same player upon his return and spent the majority of his time with the Blues out on loan. After his contract expired last summer, Bolasie headed to the Turkish Super Lig, playing 27 matches for the unheralded Caykur Rizespor, who were relegated at the conclusion of the campaign. The 33-year old has another year to run on his contract.

Everton v Southampton - Premier League
Theo Walcott returns to Goodison Park in a rare outing for Southampton last season
Photo by Daniel Chesterton/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

Theo Walcott

The former England man enjoyed a productive loan spell at boyhood club Southampton last season, encouraging the south coast outfit to bring him in permanently once his Everton deal expired on July 1st. Unfortunately it hasn’t worked out for the winger, who has featured just nine times and played only a single minute of league action for the Saints since December. With one year left on his current contract and apparently on sizeable wages, the team are reportedly looking to offload him during the summer, possibly to the MLS.

Joshua King

Either a flop or an underutilized asset during his bizarre four month spell on Merseyside, the forward signed a two-year deal with newly promoted Watford in July. The Norwegian at least saw plenty of action with the Hertfordshire outfit as they were promptly relegated from the Premier League, playing 33 times and scoring five goals - three of them gallingly at Goodison Park as the Blues succumbed in embarrassing fashion to a Hornets comeback. King saw his playing time reduced under Roy Hodgson, but will have another chance to impress Watford’s new manager next term.

Bernard

Little used by then-manager Carlo Ancelotti and on big money, the Brazilian was offloaded to Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates league last summer for less than £1m. Everton had been rumoured to have turned down a higher bid from AS Roma the previous December, which appears foolish in hindsight, considering how much of a bit-part player he was at that point. A talented technician, if lacking in physicality, it is unsurprising that Bernard has been an important performer for the Middle East club, starting 28 of 31 matches and scoring six goals. He has another 12 months on a presumably sizeable contract in the Emirates.

James Rodriguez

Ancelotti’s marquee capture in September 2020, Everton’s worsening financial position with regard to the Premier League’s regulations and the player’s historically awful relationship with incoming manager Benitez, signalled the end for the Colombian’s improbable stay on Merseyside. A key performer when fit, his absurdly huge contract hung around his neck like an albatross and the only surprise was how long it took Benitez to force the former Golden Boot winner out of the door. The unedifying spectacle of an apparently fit and available Rodriguez not being selected and yet not leaving the club dragged on until the transfer windows for all European leagues had slammed shut. Eventually the playmaker was sold for a fee of around £7m to Quatari side Al-Rayyan in late September on a three year deal. Since arriving, the former Real Madrid man has appeared 14 times and scored five goals.

Aston Villa v Burnley - Premier League
Everton missed Lucas Digne’s left-footed delivery after his departure to Aston Villa in January
Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Lucas Digne

In another ugly episode during Benitez’ short time at the club, the French international spectacularly fell out with the Spaniard, leading to him being dropped from the line-up and then - amazingly - sold to Aston Villa mere days before the manager himself was fired. Since a £27m transfer to the midlanders in January, the left back has regained much of the attacking form that he was unable to show under Rafa, registering four assists for his new club in 16 appearances. The 28 year old has a contract with Villa that runs until 2026.