Standard Liege are in talks with Everton over a loan deal for Niels Nkounkou, a source close to the player has told Sport Witness.
The 20-year-old joined Everton from Marseille in July 2020 for a fee of just under £250,000. The left-back went on to make six senior appearances in his debut season, two of which came in the Premier League.
He was given his first minutes of the 2021/22 campaign in the Carabao Cup tie against Huddersfield Town last week.
As per Sport Witness journalist Sean Lunt on Twitter, ‘Everton are working on’ temporarily offloading Nkounkou to the Belgian Pro League outfit.
It will be a loan move without an option to buy, suggesting that the Toffees still view Nkounkou as part of their long-term plans.
This is a slightly strange move from Everton in that Nkounkou appears to be the most natural left-back alternative to Lucas Digne in the squad.
However, they clearly believe that his development will benefit more from a season of regular top-flight football as opposed to under-23 outings and occasional cup runouts.
Rafael Benitez will need to shift a centre-back out to the left-hand side if he wants to give Digne a rest, or indeed if the Frenchman sustains an injury at some point during the season. This apparent decision to loan out Nkounkou may come under scrutiny further down the line.
In other news, Everton maintain an interest in this midfielder.
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