The young French full-back had signalled to the Blues his desire to play regular first-team football and will now hope to get that chance in Belgium.
The 20-year-old had some exciting outings in the Carabao Cup last season and also featured in this season's EFL Cup second round win at Huddersfield but has found Premier League appearances hard to come by with Lucas Digne entrenched as the first-choice left-back.
Combined with that of Thierry Small, however, Nkounkou's departure leaves Everton short-handed in that position, although Ben Godfrey can deputise if needed.
Reader Comments (60)
Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer
1 Posted 30/08/2021 at 15:54:20
2 Posted 30/08/2021 at 16:05:17
3 Posted 30/08/2021 at 16:16:47
4 Posted 30/08/2021 at 16:42:04
If it does go ahead then perhaps it should be until January when he can be recalled if necessary or the loan renegotiated.
5 Posted 30/08/2021 at 17:11:27
6 Posted 30/08/2021 at 17:16:52
7 Posted 30/08/2021 at 17:23:24
8 Posted 30/08/2021 at 17:39:33
Let's face it, we've started really well. Soon the worst thing that can befall an Evertonian, 'Hope' will appear, then, the inevitable is only around the corner.
9 Posted 30/08/2021 at 17:55:58
10 Posted 30/08/2021 at 18:30:42
11 Posted 30/08/2021 at 18:31:45
12 Posted 30/08/2021 at 18:39:47
The cup match was a reminder that, while he's quite thrilling in attack, his defensive game remains a work-in-progress. Maybe a loan would be the best move here.
13 Posted 30/08/2021 at 19:28:32
And all this is only if Digne misses games. He doesn't miss many.
Nkounkou made a grand total of 6 appearances last season. And we didn't have Townsend then.
Will not serve us in any way to bench the guy weekly in the event that a player may get injured. I'm excited to see what he can do and therefore he needs to be playing games.
Great move for the player and us.
14 Posted 30/08/2021 at 19:53:13
A lot of supporters seem to have no clue whatsoever about the development of a player, nor the economy of their contracts and value to the club.
A lot of football clubs, many much more successful than ours will simply not entertain the prospect of signing or introducing a player over the age of 21 with less than 100 first team appearances under their belt.
Why? In simple terms, there may be outliers here and there. But predominantly, you start picking out World Cup winners and Champions League winners who fail to fall within this demographic. I'll wait.
That's the level of player we should be aspiring to. In terms of economy, these are your options. You think this guy is going to sit around on his current contract for another 12 months and play just an handful of games. No way.
And his agent won't be allowing much of this either.
So what happens. Come January, the agent is arranging a deal with X, Y and Z club for the player. And quoting a much improved weekly wage as part of the package.
Which leaves EFC with a decision to make. Is he good enough now for the first team?
Answer is quite clear: No. Otherwise he'd have supplanted Digne and made the position his own. Or at the very least have been fighting it out for the left-back spot with a fair run of games.
So then what? Risk losing the player in a couple of years in the absolute fear he may end up being a world beater. So give him £25k a week for 5 years just in case. Like Pennington. Like Garbutt. Like Kenny.
Amateur hour for any football club doing that and a symptom of absolute failure. Put them on loan on their current deal. Or sell them. Or play them. They are the only options that can end in any kind of success.
We must choose the loan on current deal now for Nkounkou on the proviso that 12 months of first team football brings him closer to the point where he absolutely cannot be ignored for selection. If that's not the case, he'll be 21. Move him on.
15 Posted 30/08/2021 at 20:01:28
We have just lost a promising left-back because he thought Nkounkou was restricting his progress. Now we want to send him out on loan.
If this had been mooted at the start of the window, would Small have signed his professional contract?
16 Posted 30/08/2021 at 20:04:33
17 Posted 30/08/2021 at 20:10:53
I don't understand your reasoning regarding Godfrey, you state that "If Godfrey makes the centre-back position his own, Townsend would be first reserve. Godfrey would be the other option, and he was outstanding at left-back last season."
I can't see how Townsend, a right winger, would be displaced by a centre-half, and I don't understand how Godfrey could be the other option, presumably he would be replacing himself. I'm not attempting to belittle you, I just find it difficult to come to terms with your post.
18 Posted 30/08/2021 at 20:32:26
You have misunderstood.
Digne is first choice left back.
My post is about who replaces Digne should Digne be unavailable.
If Godfrey is first choice CB which I expect he will be
Then I do not expect Rafa to take him out of CB to cover for Digne.
In that instance, cover will be Townsend. Who has played a lot of football at left back. In the premier league.
If Digne and Townsend (plan b) are unavailable.
Then we the move to plan c. Which is playing Godfrey at LB. where he played several times last season and was outstanding. And Keane, Holgate or Mina cover for Godfrey.
I cannot see that this is not absolutely crystal clear.
19 Posted 30/08/2021 at 20:39:23
20 Posted 30/08/2021 at 20:44:58
21 Posted 30/08/2021 at 20:49:55
I think people like me who are advocating that he doesn't go on loan are also wanting him to be played.
Is that crystal clear?
22 Posted 30/08/2021 at 21:03:48
However. I am almost certain that he has played more Premier League games at left back than Niels Nkounkou.
@ Peter. So you want him starting ahead of a France international, former Barcelona and PSG player and Everton player of the season in his first season?
23 Posted 30/08/2021 at 21:08:41
This is obviously in an emergency situation only.
24 Posted 30/08/2021 at 21:22:04
We all bemoan square pegs for round holes and then suddenly advocate it! No - that's mad!
We have Digne as first choice and Niels as back-up. That's how it works<./p>
At Chelsea, they have a lad called Ben Chilwell as back-up left-back.
At Man City, they have Mendy as back-up left-back (let's avoid the obvious issues here please).
Even Southampton took our very own Thierry Small as back-up left-back.
Why wouldn't we want specialist cover in case of injury? Or are we really wanting the equivalent of Cuco Martina deputising at left-back again??
Please get the thinking caps back on.
25 Posted 30/08/2021 at 21:47:40
I disagree. For clubs playing a European campaign maybe.
For us playing.domestic competitions only. Then no.
Andy Robertson prior to the signing of Tzimakas was replaced by James Milner. And this is for a team that has won a league and champions league within the last couple of years.
The same team. When Trent is out whos covering for him? The other specialist right back they have in the wings on a 5 year £50k a week contract? No. They make do.
So why do you think that a club like EFC who are regularly challenging for no competitions at all, should have a more comprehensive contingency plan than a club that has obliterated us in terms of achievements and games played within the last 3/4 years.
26 Posted 30/08/2021 at 21:50:29
Gordon went to Preston NE last season and had rave reviews until they changed managers, after that he didn't get a a chance. Branthwaite injured at Blackburn sent back for Everton to pick up the salary. This has happened to Tosun twice and made him unavailable to be sold in the following window.
In spite of Kean's season at PSG they still didn't want to pay a fee for him. He is back on loan again at Juventus with an obligation to buy, at a loss to what we paid. I fail to see how loans work; time to increase Subs to 5 in the Premier League and all these players could get game time with Everton.
27 Posted 30/08/2021 at 22:03:51
If he gets a season in Belgium under his belt he could come back a more rounded player.
If he stays, he remains untested and untrusted.
28 Posted 30/08/2021 at 22:06:46
Yes. Finally. Someone with some sense.
@ Lee. It doesn't need to be seen whether Townsend could do a job at left back. He's done it before. And for teams in the bottom half of the table.
29 Posted 30/08/2021 at 22:20:03
With no Europe but with hopefully 2 cup runs Digne will play a lot. Then again, so will Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin.
A loan is probably the best option. We need him to play games. Then when we are in Europe next season he will be ready to take some of the weight off Digne.
30 Posted 30/08/2021 at 22:31:16
David. So how many games are you saying Digne will play this season? If fit, how many would he be required to play. Give me a number please.
My guess is 45 maximum.
He's managed a return of 87% availability in and Everton shirt since he joined in 2018. On that basis of the 45 he'll play 39 of those. And I'll be happy that Nkounkou plays 40 games for Standard Liege than a maximum of 6 for Everton.
31 Posted 30/08/2021 at 22:39:53
If Rafa is sending him out its because he trusts Delph, Godfrey, Townsend etc to fill in when Digne is out.
32 Posted 30/08/2021 at 22:42:01
I agree with those who say that European football would have given him and others an opportunity to progress within the squad. In the circumstances sending him out on loan is the only sensible option.
33 Posted 30/08/2021 at 23:30:16
And if hes injured then what next? Gomes at LB? Maybe DCL could do a job there
34 Posted 30/08/2021 at 23:54:02
35 Posted 30/08/2021 at 00:05:12
I think all would agree that the match day squad should be purely meritocratic; i.e. the players the manager thinks are best able to get the best result start, and the bench is made up of able deputies.
I dont think that necessarily means the starting eleven is fixed if the manager believes in ‘horses for courses or squad rotation.
Some of the subs are more likely to get game time if the manager has a general liking for utilising subs to routinely mix things up a bit in most / all games.
Keeping those who are mainly cover for injuries happy is a difficult problem and we just have to trust the club gets that delicate balance right on the majority of occasions. The younger players are often going to be in this group because the U23s competition just doesnt seem to be of any real use as a genuine proving ground.
36 Posted 31/08/2021 at 05:09:57
Hasn't Mina played full back other than when injured at the World Cup Finals?
37 Posted 31/08/2021 at 07:03:15
38 Posted 31/08/2021 at 07:06:59
39 Posted 31/08/2021 at 11:37:06
This would be a good move for him to play competitive football regularly in a league that is a good standard for someone at his stage of career.
And Standard Liege are a fairly big club. He'll learn a lot if this happens and come back to Everton a better player.
We tried similar with Jonjoe Kenny. You can never tell, but I think Nkounkou has more potential.
40 Posted 31/08/2021 at 12:38:58
'Andros Townsend has played a lot of football at left back. In the premier league'
'I am almost certain that he has played more premier league games at left back than Niels Nkounkou'
This link shows
Just scroll down the page a little to view on the right the Positions Played graphic and an accompanying table.
To date, Andres has played 417 club games across 13 seasons. 430 if you add his 13 England international appearances.
He has played left back TWICE in those 430 games. When he was 20-years-old, back in 2011, playing a couple of Europa League games under Harry Redknapp. He made ZERO PL appearances for Spurs that season. Indeed, it would be another couple of seasons before he did play PL football for them. This implies he was selected for the EL thanks to squad rotation.
He has played ZERO games in the PL at left back.
The quoted claims about Andros playing left back are patently untrue.
41 Posted 31/08/2021 at 12:41:22
42 Posted 31/08/2021 at 12:48:25
If Nkounkou goes out on loan, I feel we need loan cover coming in and dont rely on a centre back playing there again. Unless Baines comes out of retirement for emergencies!!!!
43 Posted 31/08/2021 at 18:27:24
44 Posted 31/08/2021 at 18:36:43
45 Posted 31/08/2021 at 18:52:56
Hopefully Andros will do well in his first ever Premier League appearance at LB.
46 Posted 31/08/2021 at 19:13:27
I love fellow Blues. Indeed I have a predisposition to love you all fellow toffee fans.
But to think so many are advocating this move and thus having no specialist cover in our defensive ranks….honestly I question your judgment and recent memory
Fuming. I just hope Im wrong and youre right
47 Posted 31/08/2021 at 19:13:41
Maybe big Dave Unsworth is gonna be unleashed at LB cover. No one would be able to run round him.
48 Posted 31/08/2021 at 19:21:23
I don't like the idea of makeshift defenders and certainly am not enamored by Jonjo Kenny.
It reduces the attacking options if Digne gets injured and think that Godfrey is more comfortable in the centre.
With the club still having to pay wages to Delph, Rodrigues and Siggy it would appear to leave little room for bringing in a quality player particularly on offence.
49 Posted 31/08/2021 at 19:31:01
Do we still have to pay Siggys wages if hes unavailable/suspended?
50 Posted 31/08/2021 at 00:04:09
With Small moving on, it now comes to playing someone else as a left back, should Digne picks up an injury, a suspension, or even a rest in some of the cup games.
I really hope this does not come back, to bite us on the backside,but like you, I would have preferred to have strong back up for this season for left back.
Now two promising left backs have left within a week, one may possibly return next Summer, but have left ourselves short on the left.
So if it goes tits up Ben, just remember if we have Delph playing as left back, or Tom Davies or whoever else, yourself and I were the ones who wanted Nkounkou to stay as cover.
Really really hope I am wrong and Digne gets through all season, but have a bad feeling about letting both left backs leave.
51 Posted 01/09/2021 at 08:47:41
RB. any 'right footed' defenders will do.
Holgate, Godfrey, JJK (still around) plenty of
choices. What? attacking attribute of RB?
no worries...Townsend and any wingers
will do it.
LB we have 'reliable' Delph waiting at the
sideline. If Delph out, refer to rule no 1...
Any Left footed defenders will do
See, no worries...we shall be 'FINE'
52 Posted 01/09/2021 at 09:11:46
Man City, Man Utd, Liverpool, Leicester and Southampton also have successful youth systems.
Circa early Martinez, we were one of the top teams in Premier League 2, played nice footie, had a fluid midfield which included Walsh, Davies, Ledson, Charsley etc and attracted supposedly top young talent (eg, Bowler, Adeniran, Gibson etc.).
The strange co-incidence is, from the time Brands came onboard, our youth system has been in gradual decline to the extent that we cannot rely on it; our one shining light (Thierry Small) couldn't get away quick enough.
53 Posted 01/09/2021 at 09:39:32
Nope, nobody is currently able to step up from the U23s at left-back. Roughly, these are the people who've played left-back last season and this:
Joe Anderson has played the most, a converted centre-back, decent left foot, will likely leave next June.
In the last game, it was Eli Campbell, 17, another whose best position is left centre-back. Both of these are nowhere near being Premier League ready.
The other two who featured last season as U23s left-back were Niels Nkounkou and Thierry Small. Say no more.
Behind them as U18s, we've played one centre-back at left-back who was hopeless, one guy who I haven't seen yet, and a 15-year-old Ishe Samuels-Smith who's promising but obviously very young.
So, as far as I can tell, the only natural left-backs we have at the club are Digne, maybe a 16-year-old scholar I haven't seen, and a 15-year-old promising Schoolboy. Crazy.
54 Posted 01/09/2021 at 10:02:37
55 Posted 01/09/2021 at 11:35:00
Re your #52, I see Brands differently. For me ,he's been a disappointment this window with his deals, not least his failure to bring in Patterson, the young Rangers right-back, and Jebbison the Sheffield Utd youngster. If we wanted them, then it's his job to get them over the line.
Brands's one area of success that I see he is transforming our youth set-up over the past 2 years such that our U18s and U23s are now the youngest average age they've ever been. It doesn't yet guarantee these youngsters will make the first team but there is a clearer route now.
56 Posted 01/09/2021 at 20:38:43
We have a threadbare squad and he is the only obvious back up for Digne, looked good in the cup match and on relatively low wages. Diabolical.
I think the assessment earlier (32) is unfair.
57 Posted 01/09/2021 at 21:14:06
His pace and a couple of sharp tackles saved him from giving up goals, but he looked far short of Premier League standard defensively. Some folks on the Live Forum speculated that he might become a midfielder.
Being loaned out helped another totally clueless young defender, Seamus Coleman, start to get his head around the concept of defensive positioning. Hopefully this one will do the same for Nkounkou. We may very well miss him, but it's the best thing for the player.
58 Posted 01/09/2021 at 21:19:01
Thanks, Jay, for that information regarding Townsend. I don't think 2 games qualifies for "a lot", especially since neither of those would appear to be in the Premier League, does it, Tommy?
From where did you get that stupid idea? Like many "rumours", it has got TW contributors agog with the thought, thinking it was gospel.
59 Posted 01/09/2021 at 21:20:15
If you are only finding this out now, you need to spend more time looking at ToffeeWeb.
60 Posted 04/09/2021 at 20:12:36
Add Your Comments
In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.
Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.