A new season doesn’t necessarily mean that Everton will face any better injury luck with their lean squad. Lynchpin Dwight McNeil is already looking very unlikely for the season opener at home on the 12th of August after going down in a heap following a tackle in the Blues second-last pre-season friendly against Stoke City. Neither Dominic Calvert-Lewin nor Vitaliy Mykolenko featured in that game though they did both get 45 minutes each in the closed doors friendly midweek against Serie A side AC Monza, which also puts their appearance for the Blues opener at risk.
That means three of the players looked on to be regulars in last season’s usual starting lineup are slated to miss the first game of the pivotal new campaign and there appears to be more bad news in the offing for Everton after reports emerged that latest signing Arnaut Danjuma had to miss Friday’s training session with a small injury.
Everton forward Arnaut Danjuma missed Friday’s training session at Finch Farm with a ‘minor knock’. Everton’s club medical team decided against Danjuma training as the club prepare for the start of the season next weekend— The Bobble (@ElBobble) August 4, 2023
The Blues insider also went on to add that McNeil did not appear close to a return as yet with the wide man not even resuming training as yet almost a week after picking up his injury.
Demarai Gray’s move to Fulham appears all but done, with the Toffees reportedly waiting for the Youssef Chermiti signing to be announced before sanctioning the transfer. There is a chance that Everton could wait just long enough before the game against the Cottagers at Goodison Park on Saturday so that the newly-minted Jamaican international cannot line up against them, but that remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, prolonged personal contract negotiations with the teenaged striker have continued until the weekend even as his side Sporting prepare to take on Everton on Saturday in the final pre-season friendly that he was supposed to be unveiled at. It’s now looking like he will only travel to Merseyside in the next few days, which greatly reduces his chances of featuring against Fulham.
As things stand, Sean Dyche is already facing a race against time to have even a halfway fit squad to start what is expected to be a difficult campaign after two straight relegation battles.