Nkounkou reportedly turned down a professional contract with the Ligue 1 club and was tipped to join Juventus.
Everton have stepped in, however, and added him to their Under-23 squad. He joins compatriots Lucas Digne and Djibril Sidibé at Finch Farm after signing a 3-year deal.
"Niels is a young, talented player with good technical and physical skills," said Director of Football, Marcel Brands, of the teenager who can also operate in midfield. "We have been following him for months.
"Hopefully he can learn a lot from Lucas Digne and Leighton Baines, as well as Carlo Ancelotti and David Unsworth, and follow the same pathway into the first team the likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Mason Holgate have taken in recent years."
The players' agent, Yvan Le Mée, explained to Foot Mercato that Ancelotti spoke with his client and convinced him that his prospects of playing first-team football sooner rather than later were stronger at Goodison than by staying in France.
“Today, the possibility is stronger for Niels to be on the pitch at Everton than at Marseille," he said. "There is also a coach named Carlo Ancelotti who called the player, who spoke to him, and who knows the player's potential.
“He says that by working with the player, he can make him a top player. It is also important for us to have a coach who wants the player. If we add the club's infrastructure and the next arrival of the new stadium, the project presented is attractive.”
Everton were able to sign the player, whose contract had ended on 30 June, after the Premier League were given special dispensation to open the transfer window for next season on July 1, but only for 24 hours, in order for clubs to register new players where agreements had been reached.
It is expected that the Premier League window will re-open at the end of the month, and may run through early October — Fifa are recommending they close by 5 October. The dates and duration of the English transfer window are expected to be discussed at a Premier League meeting next week.
Reader Comments (61)
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1 Posted 02/07/2020 at 11:43:15
Not heard much about the player but he has a few caps for France international youth teams and was apparently wanted by Juventus and Leipzig, which bodes very well if true.
2 Posted 02/07/2020 at 12:22:09
3 Posted 02/07/2020 at 12:27:09
Can't help but think that, if we're serious about silverware, Pickford has to go. Let's hope Carlo has a bargain keeper on his radar. Such a shame we let Robles go.
4 Posted 02/07/2020 at 20:31:25
5 Posted 02/07/2020 at 21:00:11
6 Posted 02/07/2020 at 21:02:50
7 Posted 02/07/2020 at 21:10:32
8 Posted 02/07/2020 at 21:26:08
10 Posted 02/07/2020 at 22:00:32
Having said all that, welcome aboard lad, hope you mature with us, and prove to be a bargain.
11 Posted 02/07/2020 at 22:19:15
Hopefully he turns out ok and it's a sign of things to come. He now has him and Branthwaite in the past few months.
12 Posted 02/07/2020 at 22:25:11
A big welcome and good luck to him.
13 Posted 02/07/2020 at 22:41:27
14 Posted 02/07/2020 at 22:41:46
15 Posted 02/07/2020 at 23:04:02
16 Posted 02/07/2020 at 23:31:44
17 Posted 03/07/2020 at 05:00:34
18 Posted 03/07/2020 at 06:20:31
Robles was, and probably still is, pants. A run of the mill keeper.
Not saying Pickford is the answer, but if Robles is the answer our ambitions are pretty low.
19 Posted 03/07/2020 at 07:19:55
If so we will need to sign another striker as Morellos will miss most of the season and not due to injury!
If we do go for a forward then it has to be Edouard from Celtic
20 Posted 03/07/2020 at 07:23:36
21 Posted 03/07/2020 at 07:25:07
22 Posted 03/07/2020 at 07:27:05
23 Posted 03/07/2020 at 08:14:25
I want to make a suggestion for our desperately needed defensive midfield position, and I'm unashamedly waving the American flag as I do.
Weston McKennie has emerged as the best young #8 in the Bundesliga, and he wants to leave Schalke. A ferocious ballwinner with excellent attacking skills. Incredibly versatile -- has started in eight different positions for Schalke.
Go get him, Marcel.
24 Posted 03/07/2020 at 08:42:51
Actually buying a player on sensible commercial terms might be much cheaper or better value in effect. Plus lots of big clubs around Europe are over-stocked and or on the brink and need to sell.
25 Posted 03/07/2020 at 08:55:05
26 Posted 03/07/2020 at 09:20:23
27 Posted 03/07/2020 at 09:39:01
He seems to have a good engine and a great leap but, as of yet, he does not do quite enough on the ball. Or make quite enough tackles or interceptions to merit his lack of penetration on the ball.
He's very young of course and has definite potential to grow. If he was in the 㾶-15M bracket, he could well be worth a punt but my understanding is that he'd be more than that. In which case I still think I'd opt for Sangare, who has a similar profile but makes more tackles: both players need technical improvement.
As for Zouma, I'd take him in a heartbeat if it was around the 㿀M mark. Very quick, very strong and a hugely effective defender when well coached in the right system. If Gabriel picks Napoli over us (and with my neutral hat on, I probably would), then Zouma makes a very low-risk alternative if the price is right.
28 Posted 03/07/2020 at 09:54:56
29 Posted 03/07/2020 at 10:29:30
30 Posted 03/07/2020 at 10:54:33
31 Posted 03/07/2020 at 11:03:03
32 Posted 03/07/2020 at 11:20:47
33 Posted 03/07/2020 at 11:25:02
Good luck to the lad and welcome to Everton.
34 Posted 03/07/2020 at 12:23:11
He's going to be an u-23 player next season and has zero first team appearances to his name. My advice is to forget he exists and hope, very mildly, for a pleasant surprise in a year's time.
35 Posted 03/07/2020 at 15:02:25
I don't think much of the Bundesliga overall. I will watch if one of our American boys will be on TV or Jonjoe Kenny. 22 next month, McKennie's proven himself there, paid his dues, etc.
"Unashamedly waving the American flag". I'll do some. Since the late 90s, we've regularly had an American signed by and played for Everton. It's 4 years since Timmy left. Another would be nice. I know that only means something to you, me, and the other Americans in here.
Even leaving that side, though, Weston always stands out every time I've seen him and for all the good reasons you mention. Think he'd be a terrific signing.
36 Posted 03/07/2020 at 17:56:32
He's believed to be pacey and confident. I'm guessing a failed winger so he needs to learn how to defend.
Good luck, lad.
37 Posted 03/07/2020 at 18:03:13
If he had loaned Robinson for another season, Robinson then could have been sold for much much more or brought back to compete for a place in the first team.
In my opinion, Brands is out of his depth. Moise Keane â€“ who looks like a fish out of water â€“ will be his downfall.
38 Posted 03/07/2020 at 18:37:37
Antony #38, don't get me started on Robinson -- I was vociferous about my dismay when we shipped him for beans -- but Brands "out of his depth"??? No way. And I think Kean will develop just fine.
39 Posted 03/07/2020 at 19:14:49
Ancelotti won't suffer Brands's advice, not with the Director of Football's current crop of crap he's having to pick a side from.
Sorry, Kurt, it's probably a No from Carlo.
40 Posted 03/07/2020 at 19:16:14
I also wonder now what he will do with the U23 midfielders currently training with the first team: Baningime, Adeniran and Markelo?
41 Posted 03/07/2020 at 19:19:36
I am in agreement that we need one definitely. But I feel Delph needs shifting.
42 Posted 03/07/2020 at 19:20:03
I know the USA, is not the greatest football nation in the world, but it's a great sporting nation, and the one thing that always impresses me about American sports players, is their ability to work really hard.
They are good team players, the Yanks, and that's what we need at Everton right now, especially if you're describing Weston as a terrier.
43 Posted 03/07/2020 at 19:51:29
I forgot he existed. Thanks for reminding me.
44 Posted 03/07/2020 at 19:59:59
He'll be a mainstay for years on a US national side that suddenly has more young talent than ever before -- Pulisic of course, but also Gio Reyna at Dortmund, Chris Richards at Bayern, Tyler Adams of Leipzig, Sergino Dest at Ajax, possibly Konrad de la Fuenta at Barcelona.
For the first time, we're seeing very young Yanks at the top clubs in Europe. I think McKennie will be next. And he wants England. We are rumored to be interested, along with Liverpool, Crystal Palace and West Ham.
45 Posted 03/07/2020 at 20:05:28
This creates an exciting possibility for us in that the wonga will be kept for a high quality centre-midfielder and a right-midfielder I hope and pray that we have a clear mind of who these two players will be. This lad for Schalke looks good and a real prospect but definately a risk, if he didn't work out we would be back to Gomes, Davies, Sigurdsson and Delph fighting it out with a potentially crocked Gbamin (poor lad).
So, in my eyes, we need to get this centre-midfielder spot bang on. Allan would fit that mould (no Premier League experience and not the right age) but he has such pedigree he could walk into many teams first 11 playing in the Champions League. Koopmeiners would be another risk.
For right-midfielder I see we are linked with Leon Bailey (more.click bait bullshit probably) but this guy has real quality, can play on both wings and is electric from what I have seen. I for one would not mind if we only brought two players but of real quality.
That doesn't stop me playing football manager in my head and shifting Sigi in one of these deals so we could be getting two centre-midfielders!!! Delph to be reunited with Arteta for what we paid, anyone? Yes please.
46 Posted 03/07/2020 at 20:31:52
On the subject of Leon Bailey, he's a cracking player and one who always looked the part as a very young player in Belgium. Could and should have picked him up for buttons then. More of a 4-3-3 type than 4-4-2 though. And, early days I know, but would really like Gordon to be prioritised ahead of new signings now. It's centre-midfield that needs the most investment.
And finally, Mina. Hmm. Kind of okay but not the best. Certainly not our Van Dijk. Keane better in a deep defence. Yerry probably a better bet in a higher line but still not the most mobile. Not as good as Zouma by any stretch. Wages too high to expect a sale any time soon.
47 Posted 03/07/2020 at 21:44:59
Agree on Leon Bailey but I'm pretty sure he'll want a Champions League club, and we ain't it. Yet.
48 Posted 03/07/2020 at 23:26:15
49 Posted 03/07/2020 at 23:57:00
50 Posted 04/07/2020 at 01:22:26
I do agree that at this point centre-back should be the last priority. I'm fine with our three. We have far more urgent needs.
51 Posted 04/07/2020 at 01:32:58
52 Posted 04/07/2020 at 08:02:50
I am aware you view Zouma's time with us less favourably than others. As you kno,w I thought he was superb towards the end of the season. I guess we may never know how much of that was down to the incredible form of Gueye at the time.
It's interesting how we seem to have swung on this site from seeing a new centre-back as one of the priorities this summer to the possibility we may not need one at all! If Mina could re-capture his early-season form, then there is a really healthy competition for those two starting berths. That said, if we had a buyer for Mina, I'd love to see Gabriel come in.
Congratulations on being reunited with your family again by the way Mike.
53 Posted 04/07/2020 at 08:35:05
I'd rate them fairly similarly but think Sangare will be cheaper and possibly has potential to be more complete. Wylan Cyprien has been transfer-listed apparently, another well-rounded centre-midfielder who brings great set-piece delivery and long shots into the deal.
As for Zouma or Mina, I think the former is probably better in a high line and the latter superior in a deep line. Having them both would give us great flexibility at centre-back but centre-midfield is more of a priority perhaps now with Keane returning to form. I wonder if a loan for John Stones might fill the gap whilst Gibson and Branthwaite develop?
54 Posted 04/07/2020 at 08:58:02
As to the rumours etc. Interesting that Cyprien is available. He is out of contract soon and presumably they're looking for a fee rather than lose him (also, Nice just bought a shit-hot midfield general called Morgan Schneiderlin, so they're overloaded with talent). Box to box, good goals and assist record. Lots to like. See him more as a 4-3-3 player than 4-4-2 but who knows.
55 Posted 04/07/2020 at 11:15:51
That's good news on all those young American footballers you mention; it's only going to be a matter of time before USA becomes a first rate footballing nation, when you consider its great sporting history.
56 Posted 03/07/2020 at 14:55:46
Whatever happened to Freddy Adu?
Supposed to be the new Pele, think he had a trial at Man Utd and never heard a dicky since...
57 Posted 04/07/2020 at 15:21:30
Unless Carlo wants to play a deep line and defend all next season, we need someone who excels in a higher line. Therefore someone with pace to turn and defend the ball over the top.
They also need to have the height that Holgate lacks. I'd sell Keane whilst his stock is high as another 6-month slump is always around the corner for him.
59 Posted 04/07/2020 at 15:56:10
Tony #55, hope you're right.
Jamie #58, hope you're right too!
Mick #56, hope you don't mind my answering for James, but I know this story well.
At one time, Freddy Adu was considered the #2 teenage midfielder in the world behind Messi, and was a full professional at 15. At this point, he has played or trialled for probably 25 clubs, including multiple MLS teams and lower-division clubs in places like Turkey, Finland, Poland, Serbia, Greece, Portugal and Norway. He has failed everywhere and now, at 31, hasn't had a club since 2018.
The talent was exceptional -- he had some dazzling moments in brief spells with the US National Team -- but he just never matured into a real professional, physically or emotionally. He was never dedicated to his craft. Very nice guy from all reports, but it was just too much too soon.
If you're interested:
60 Posted 04/07/2020 at 19:21:15
61 Posted 04/07/2020 at 20:22:46
Sometimes, I think we are guilty of taking a snapshot of players as though their form at a particular moment or in a particular phase is going to be their form forever.
He's not been great on the turn â€“ we've known that since Lukaku did him â€“ but so, so much is in the mind and I can see him now as a man reborn.
I don't think it's all about us playing deeper. Maybe someone's told him to relax and believe in himself and he's paid attention. Perhaps that was Carlo. Anyway, it's great to see a troubled man finding his moment.
62 Posted 05/07/2020 at 23:44:01
He's just too slow to play a high line. If we had a better midfield that hurried and harassed the opposition better, that would also help, but we don't.
So yes, tactics, formation and other players do make a difference, but I judge a player on what I see the player do, ie, Schniderlin did very little, so no matter if a team keeps winning and everyone appears great, he never did for me.
Age I'm not so concerned about. It's what the player offers in the current season and possibly next. Gana was top class, so athletic â€“ if he was 25 or 35, I didn't care. I would have tried to keep him but I can fully understand him leaving.
Zouma is better than Keane. So yes I'd have him in a heart-beat to compete with Mina and Holgate.
63 Posted 06/07/2020 at 05:16:37
With that, he's summarized Adu's career. A definite "Shoulda been" who turned into a "Never was". My own feeling is that before he turned 20 he'd simply stopped caring about playing. He just hung around because teams would pay him money.
He was a schoolboy sensation in Maryland, where soccer is well-established. Someway or another agents were contacted and got involved and 13-year-old Freddie was given the full, klieg light, big league hype treatment. National news, late-night talk show appearances, MTV, magazine covers, a commercial with the man himself Pele, a million dollar endorsement deal with Nike, even an interview segment with staid, old 60 Minutes. Topped off with a lucrative 4-year contract with DC United. All before he'd done a single, fucking thing. Can you imagine all this for a 14-year-old?
His output from then to now ranges from nothing all the way up to next-to-nothing. The best to say about Adu is that he's a cautionary tale. A wonderful talent, even Pele acknowledged it, who amounted to nothing because he was given everything without earning anything.
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