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Henry Onyekuru has a real battle to rectify Everton career

Everton snapped up the Nigerian last summer, but he has had a tough 2018 so far.

Mathew Nash

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Last summer Everton made plenty of new signings. The club invested heavily in the first-team squad, with the likes of Michael Keane, Jordan Pickford and Gylfi Sigurdsson all expensive recruits for Farhad Moshiri to empty his pockets for.

Another new signing was that of Nigerian talent Henry Onyekuru. The attacker had just scored 24 goals in 41 games for KAS Eupen the season previously and had plenty of teams chasing his signature.

Everton eventually won the race, paying a fee reported to be in the region of £7 million by the BBC.

He was immediately loaned out to Anderlecht, as he did not have the credentials to earn a work permit to play in the UK.

The hope for Everton was that Onyekuru would thrive at the Belgian giants. He would then go to the World Cup with Nigeria and receive his work permit as a consequence.

That has not proved to be the case. At first, it appeared the plan was working. Onyekuru scored nine goals in 26 appearances in the first half of the season, mostly playing from the left-wing. However, in December, he suffered a serious knee injury that left him out of action until April.

Now, Onyekuru risks become a forgotten man at Everton.

The injury scuppered his chances of playing for Nigeria this summer. Despite his return in April, Anderlecht were reluctant to play him and he no longer wants to stay in Brussels on a similar loan spell next season as a consequence.

His lack of first-team action saw the Super Eagles omit him from the World Cup squad.

(Photo credit should read ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Without a UK work permit, he is set to find another loan club next season, with Borussia Monchengladbach linked by HLN.

Everton now have an entirely new structure to the one that first brought Onyekuru to the club and the Nigerian will need to produce some real quality next season to remain on the club’s radar.

He also needs to win back a place in the Nigeria squad, or Everton will never get the accreditation needed for him to play for the club.

This season has turned out to be a disaster for the £7m Everton newbie and it is not ridiculous to think he is now struggling to ever make an impact at Goodison Park.

Everton

Theo Walcott showed what a coup he was for Everton against Southampton

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Photo: Getty Images.

Theo Walcott joined Everton from Arsenal in the January transfer window and has showed moments of promise and sparkle but only now under Marco Silva is he truly beginning to show what a coup he was for the Toffees.

After just a quarter of an hour against his boyhood club Southampton, he showed his composure after a smart set piece routine came to Walcott. Under pressure, his technique kept the ball under control before firing the ball beyond Alex McCarthy and into the back of the net.

Not long later, he turned provider and whipped a pinpoint cross onto Richarlison’s head for the summer signing to double Everton’s lead and all but end the tie in the first half.

“I thought Theo was great. The attacking players linked up brilliantly at times. They were great and very lively in front of goal.”

Captain on the day, Seamus Coleman, appreciated his display.

Walcott was at the heart of everything that Everton did in attack, producing more passes in the attacking third than any other player, taking more shots than any other Everton player and creating more chances than any other Everton player.

No longer simply a pace merchant, Walcott has shown the kind of quality that earned him a move to Arsenal and that he showed at times in Europe’s elite competitions.

Rather than looking to get on the end of chances, he has turned a provider whilst still offering fine finishing and a deadly threat when the ball does fall his way in the danger area.

If Marco Silva can get the 29-year-old to produce performances like that on a weekly basis, then he could prove to be one of the greatest signings that the club has made in many years.

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Everton round-up: Bolasie wanted in Turkey, Marchisio link seems unlikely and Neville praise

A selection of the latest news and gossip from Everton.

Mathew Nash

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Fenerbahce move

Everton winger Yannick Bolasie has been linked with a move to Fenerbahce. The Express report that the DR Congo winger is wanted in a loan deal from the Turkish giants.

The report claims the Turkish side are making a move for the player, after moves to Crystal Palace and Burnley never came to fruition.

Middlesbrough are also reportedly keen on the player. His former boss at Palace, Tony Pulis, is currently in the hotseat at Boro and is believed to be keen.

TURIN, ITALY – AUGUST 15: Juventus player Claudio Marchisio during a Juventus training session at JTC on August 15, 2018 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Daniele Badolato – Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images)

Marchisio link

Everton have been linked with a shock move for Italian international Claudio Marchisio this week. The Juventus stalwart became a free agent this week after cancelling his contract with the Old Lady.

Kick Off have reported that Everton could try and tempt him into a Premier League switch.

However, a deal seems unlikely. The Liverpool Echo have made it clear a deal does not appear to be in the offing.

Marchisio is expected to join MLS side Montreal Impact in the days to come.

Neville praise

Former Everton captain and England women’s head coach Phil Neville has been praising the team after their performance against Southampton yesterday.

The former England international was speaking on Match of the Day (18/08/2018) when he stated that he has a ‘sneaky feeling this could be Everton’s year.’

Everton are certainly looking like a more positive outfit then they did last term under Ronald Koeman and Sam Allardyce.

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Mason Holgate display shows Yerry Mina he has a fight on his hands

The Everton defender put in an assured performance v Southampton this weekend.

Mathew Nash

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Everton took on Southampton in the Premier League yesterday, picking up their first win of the Marco Silva era. Goals from Theo Walcott and Richarlison proved enough for the victory, despite Danny Ings grabbing one back.

Everton impressed on a day when they were forced into a change at the back. Phil Jagielka had been red-carded in the opening day 2-2 draw with Wolves. With the club captain absent, a centre-back had to step in alongside Michael Keane.

Silva went with Mason Holgate over loanee Kurt Zouma. The young defender put in an assured display at the back, as he did many times last season in the heart of defence.

It certainly seems the 21-year-old is ahead of Zouma in the pecking order.

BARCELONA, SPAIN – AUGUST 09: Yerry Mina poses as a new Everton FC player on August 9, 2018 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Everton FC/Everton FC via Getty Images)

But what about Yerry Mina?

Everton have just paid Barcelona £28.5 million to sign the Colombian, after his impressive World Cup in Russia. However, he arrives with a minor foot injury which means he was not able to take to the field.

But Holgate’s performance should demonstrate to Mina that getting in the first-team at Everton will not be a procession.

Holgate, after years of trying to establish himself as a regular first XI player will see this as a perfect opportunity.

Mina will need to be up for a fight. For Everton fans, such strength in competition is only good news for the club.

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