It is fair to say that Everton aren’t enjoying the best of seasons during 2018/19 and boss Marco Silva will hope for improvements.
The Toffees are currently ninth in the league and have lost their last three matches.
With Manchester City in EFL Cup action this weekend, Silva’s men are not back in action until Tuesday when they travel to Cardiff City.
One of Everton’s standout performers this season has been Kurt Zouma, with the central defender on a season-long loan from Chelsea.
The 24-year-old has played 27 games in all competitions and boss Silva recently spoke of his desire to keep him beyond this season.
He told the Liverpool Echo: “Let’s see what we can do or not in the future.
“But it’s also about his opinion, about his future. But we are really happy with him.”
Silva’s hopes of keeping the important player around, have been dealt a massive blow today.
BBC Sport has confirmed that Zouma’s parent club Chelsea have been hit with a two-window transfer ban.
The punishment is relating to a breach in rules over youth players.
The Blues have numerous players out on loan and they could now become key members of the squad next season.
Zouma already has 47 Premier League appearances under his belt at Stamford Bridge.
As a tried and tested option, they could be forced to hand him a West London lifeline next season.
Chelsea’s defending this season has been nothing short of shambolic and there is a sense that Zouma hasn’t really done much wrong when called upon.
Everton must have thought they stood a strong chance of signing the Frenchman permanently but those chances have now taken a significant hit.
The Toffees would have relished the continuity of a settled back four, but now they look likely to be back at square one come the summer.