Dele Alli not the only midfielder posing a dilemma for Everton
Several mid-fielders on loan
Dele Alli is not the only midfielder set to pose Sean Dyche with a dilemma this summer. Andre Gomes and Jean-Philippe Gbamin could both return to Everton following the conclusion of their respective loan spells. Both have had their careers with the Blues ruined by injury and, like Dele, are contracted until the end of next season.
New manager, clean slate
They were each deemed surplus to requirements in the summer and eventually secured opportunities to play elsewhere. There could be a chance for them to impress their new manager, who said every player started with a clean slate upon his arrival. Yet their presence will be a difficult reminder of the past excess that has undermined Everton’s efforts to make progress.
Gomes’ success in France
Gomes, who signed for Everton from Barcelona, is enjoying a positive season with French side Lille. The 29-year-old has played 19 times, scoring once, and started recent games with Lyon, Paris Saint-Germain, Lens and Brest. One French publication described him as “the perfect relay between the defenders and the Lille attack” and suggested he could be the subject of efforts to make his move permanent should Lille qualify for Europe. The side is currently sixth, one place and one point below Rennes, the team that occupies the final European qualification spot.
Gomes’ road to recovery
Gomes’ success in France will be welcomed by many, with the midfielder having been a popular signing when his loan spell was made permanent in 2019. A horrific leg break suffered in a game with Tottenham Hotspur later that year led to a long lay-off and he has since struggled to recapture his form in the Premier League.
Gbamin’s loan spell in Turkey
Like Dele, Gbamin is currently out on loan in Turkey. The 27-year-old, who signed in the same summer as Gomes, has made 15 league appearances for Trabzonspor and four in the Europa League. He was an unused substitute in the club’s most recent game, a win over Adana Demirspor. Gbamin played in the first two league games of Everton’s season in August 2019 but a problem with his quadriceps muscle then ruled him out. Later issues with his Achilles and knee, as well as a loan spell with CSKA Moscow last season, mean he has played just eight times for Everton.
Gomes and Gbamin started the August 2019 win over Watford together after signing for fees that, when combined, almost reached £50m. Yet while injury has been a substantial factor, neither has made a significant impact. Tom Davies and Abdoulaye Doucoure are both out of contract this summer and if their stays on Merseyside are not extended then Gomes and Gbamin could be offered an opportunity to impress Dyche – as could Dele, with Besiktas looking unlikely to trigger an option to buy him. But together the three midfielders are likely to raise more questions than answers for a squad that is looking to adopt a smarter recruitment strategy and reduce its wage bill.