Everton may have ended the season trophyless but one of their loanees didn’t. In fact, Henry Onyekuru scored the winning goal as Galatasaray secured the Super Lig title against nearest rivals Basaksehir at the weekend.
Everton fans, of course, have not seen the Nigerian play in the flesh. Onyekuru joined the club from KAS Eupen in 2017 for a fee reported by the BBC to be in the region of £7 million. However, work permit issues saw him immediately loaned out to Anderlecht last season. With the same problem arising last summer, he was sent to Turkey.
However, there is hope a work permit could be easier to acquire this summer. Nigeria are at the African Cup of Nations and Onyekuru is expected to be a regular for the Super Eagles in Egypt.
As reported by the Liverpool Echo, Onyekuru needs to play 75% of Nigeria’s games over the past two years to qualify for a work permit.
Nigeria are expected to go far in the competition. That could see Onyekuru play seven games for Nigeria. Add a warm-up v Senegal, that is eight, if he played in every game.
However, it would still leave Onyekuru well short of that percentage. Even if adding the eight potential games this summer Onyekuru would have played just 12 times for Nigeria. Since July 2017, out of 36 games, it will not be enough.
Everton could still make a good case. Injury prevented him from going to the World Cup last summer. On top of that plenty of those games are friendly matches. Considering his good form, Everton could certainly fight hard to receive that work permit.
But even with a remarkable summer with his country, Everton might have to wait another season.