Should Gerard Deulofeu stay at Everton next season?

It’s fair to say in Gerard Deulofeu Everton currently possess one of the worlds brightest young footballing talents- their only problem is for how long they can keep hold of him.  The 20 year old Catalan, a product of Barcelona’s famous La Masia academy, has a huge future ahead of him and will want to fulfill it at the Camp Nou but for now his chances there are limited.

So far at Everton Deulofeu has only made 6 Premier League starts (14 off the bench) alongside 2 in the Capital One Cup and has scored 4 times in total. He announced himself to English football with his stunning equalizer at The Emirates against Arsenal and perhaps even to his own boss Roberto Martinez who had used him sparingly before. There were even some whispers that Barcelona were contemplating recalling him from his loan due to a lack of playing time before then.  Of course Barcelona expect their players out on loan to be given as much playing time as possible but Roberto Martinez has had to put his own teams objectives first and has often favoured a front 3 of Lukaku, Naismith and Mirallas with Deulofeu often coming on as an impact sub.

Barcelona have recently been hit with a huge transfer ban which has placed the club in limbo and should have a significant impact on where Deulofeu plays his football next season. The ramifications of the ban still remain unclear with Barca set to appeal and for now we can only speculate on what it means for Barca- can they re-sign players out on loan back to their first team? What we do know is Barca will be able to sell or loan players during the ban, so Deulofeu could well be forced to go back out on loan whilst the ban is in place. Everton would be delighted to keep hold of him for another year, and despite Deulofeu impressing at Goodison Park this season Barca have Messi, Neymar, Pedro, Alexis and Fabregas all ahead of him and his chances would still be scarce at The Camp Nou.

Last month Deulofeu stated in an interview with a Catalan radio station he wanted to return to Barcelona next season after “maturing as a player and a person in England”. It’s clear his heart and future is with Barca, but even if their transfer ban means they want their squad to be as big as possible, it would be a surprise if he was playing for them next season. Everton could yet reach the Champions League with 6 games remaining  in The Premier League and if they do so it would be a great chance for Deulofeu to gain experience at the highest level of club football with Everton next season.  If he was to stay another year on Merseyside he’d develop more as a footballer and not be 5th or 6th choice at Barcelona for the season. Ultimately the decision should come down to him, with Martinez perhaps keener to have Deulofeu at his disposal than Gerard Martino is at Barcelona.

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