Josh Bowler eyes Championship transfer as winger prepares for Everton exit
According to the Liverpool Echo, Josh Bowler has earmarked a move to the Championship as his ideal destination after Everton opted to release the Under 23s forward.
Everton signed Bowler from Queens Park Rangers for £4.25million in 2017 (Sky Sports) and extended his initial three-year contract by a further 12-months in 2019, but are yet to see the forward break into the first-team fold.
Bowler is yet to feature in a single senior matchday squad since arriving on Merseyside, despite the 22-year-old scoring six goals and providing three assists in 41 U23s appearances in all competitions.
Injuries helped pave the way for Bowler’s difficulties establishing a senior role, with the Chertsey-born playmaker’s loan spell with Hull City for the 2019/20 campaign interrupted before a serious hip problem required surgery and prevented a move last summer.
Bowler now hopes to secure a move to a Championship side once his terms expire at the end of next month, having been informed that Everton will not be offering him a new deal.
The Goodison Park natives are targeting an overhaul of their senior and youth teams as part of ongoing plans to rebuild, as Director of Football Marcel Brands works on reducing the size of the squads and a bloated wage bill.
Everton’s total outlay for salaries last season is noted to have stood at almost £165m, and it is hoped that the sales of players like Bernard and Jonjoe Kenny plus those not being offered new contracts will help bring the value down.
Theo Walcott and Yannick Bolasie’s imminent departures will free a combined £9.1m a year, while a further £6.2m would be saved with Bernard sold, per Spotrac figures.
Bowler has long been a player who has displayed a lot of promise in Everton’s junior sides, with U23s boss David Unsworth lauding him as a ‘great young talent’ (Echo), but he has not built on those displays by making the step up to the senior fold at Goodison Park.
His loan spell at Hull last term also only returned one goal and one assist in 31 appearances in all competitions, of which he started just 14, to hardly convince Carlo Ancelotti that he was ready for the next stage upon returning to Merseyside.
A heavily interrupted campaign this season has restricted Bowler to making only six appearances and without the evidence from last term to warrant a new deal, it is hardly surprising that Everton have decided to accept a multi-million-pound loss amid their rebuild.
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