Nkounkou makes St Etienne move permanent

01/06/2023 28comments  |  Jump to last

Ligue 2 side St Etienne have taken up the option of signing Niels Nkounkou from Everton on a permanent basis following a successful loan spell this past season.

The 22-year-old Frenchman joined the Blues in a cut-price deal from Marseilles in 2020 and exhibited some hugely promising early signs that then Director of Football, Marcel Brands might have unearthed a gem.

He made some exciting appearances as a marauding left-back when given an opportunity in the early rounds of the League Cup but looked more raw and vulnerable defensively in the tougher environs of the Premier League.

With his pathway to a first-choice berth blocked in any case by Lucas Digne, Nkounkou joined Standard Liege on loan in 2021 and had a spell at Cardiff City the following season as Everton continued to assess whether he would make the grade at senior level.

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That continued to be the case last summer when the Pontoise-born player was effectively given the chance to earn a move away when he signed on loan first for Cardiff City and then St Etienne where he made 19 league appearances and scored six goals, ingratiating him with Les Verts' fans.

Everton are said to be making around €2m from Nkounkou's move back to France.


Reader Comments (28)

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Jack Convery
1 Posted 01/06/2023 at 18:33:32
After buying him for £2M they will now sell him immediately for a quick profit.

Why couldn't we do this with Coady, for fuck's sake??? Buy him and sell him to Sheffield United or whoever for £8 to £12M. I'm sure Coady wouldn't have minded as he would have got 2 signing-on fees!! It's not rocket science, is it?

I see Dyche has got £3M for keeping us up. £2M in, £3M out.

Barry Hesketh
2 Posted 01/06/2023 at 18:42:30
Jack @1,

We don't know if Coady would have stayed if he had been asked to. He certainly wouldn't stay in order to be sold to another club as he will make more money in wages if his transfer fee is acceptable to more buyers.

Andy Peers
3 Posted 01/06/2023 at 19:06:52
Another piece of bad business. We desperately need cover at left-back and he has been doing well.

Brands put a £2 million buy-out clause in there. Laughable, so now they buy him for 2 million and our board will probably bid £8 million for him, LOL.

Iain Johnston
4 Posted 01/06/2023 at 19:11:37
The lad didn't know what the word 'defend' meant plus the move was confirmed months ago. No big surprise.
Annika Herbert
5 Posted 01/06/2023 at 20:01:31
Disappointing news for me. I had hoped he would come back and let Dyche have a look at him before we sold him permanently.

No doubt this will turn into another deal where the lad suddenly becomes a star turn. I thought he could have done a job as a left midfielder for us. Time will tell but I think we will regret letting him go.
Ernie Baywood
6 Posted 01/06/2023 at 22:26:37
This transfer window is going to be so important.

We could barely put out a squad last season. And the skeleton squad we put out lacked wide players in defence and midfield.

It's hard to believe we're going to be able to buy the players we need to produce even a semi-functional team.

Colin Metcalfe
7 Posted 01/06/2023 at 23:01:20
Another poor decision by the club, two in one day.

I honestly don't think Kevin Thelwell has a clue of how to rebuild our team!

Phil Lewis
8 Posted 02/06/2023 at 01:07:36
Mystery surrounds this boy. He looked an exciting prospect as an attacking full-back on the few occasions he was initially selected. He gets farmed out and does very well for himself in France. Enough, it would seem to expect a recall, especially when we were desperately short of cover at left-back.

Yet someone has decided that his French exploits have been insufficient to warrant his return. Surely not Dyche's decision as he hasn't had the opportunity to assess him properly yet?

While we, the long-suffering fans, will never know, nor get to find out, if he was good enough. Certainly a mystery to add to all the other financial hotchpotch that is EFC.

Mike Gaynes
9 Posted 02/06/2023 at 01:35:10
Phil and Andy, he was NOT potential cover at LB. Standard Liege, Cardiff and St. Etienne all found him to be a defensive disaster. St. Etienne moved him up to attacking left mid and that seems to be his true position... he had eight goals and six assists in just over half a season, helping them recover to mid-table in Ligue 2. But there's no indication yet that he can do that at a higher level, and we already have a left mid who has turned out to be pretty good.
Mark Rankin
10 Posted 02/06/2023 at 07:09:16
Part of the problem when signing 19-year-old defenders is that there is often a few years till they hit their peak. I think Nkounkou was fed up of the repeated loans and wanted some stability.

Same problem for young players coming through the academy system like Davies who, with hindsight, should have left years ago if he wanted to become a better player. Signing someone at 21 or 22 often works out better, just finding them is competitive, but like James Garner there are opportunities to do it.

Michael Lynch
11 Posted 02/06/2023 at 09:17:14
For a left back, he was a half-decent winger.

Good luck to him, but he's not what we need right now.

Phil Smith
12 Posted 02/06/2023 at 12:42:23
Yet more disappointment on player recruitment. Yes this kid was weak defensively, but he more than made up for that in getting forward and he made us excited as a result. Does Myka make us excited? As fans, this is what we pay money to see. How is anyone going to develop in a side if you don’t get opportunities. Put yourself in his shoes. Big (ish) Premier League club comes in for you. Makes you promises. You get a couple of chances and do quite well (at least getting forward), holding your own and then…. boom - don’t play again, eventually going on loan after loan. This kid never had a chance at our once great club. You think any young, talented player is coming to play for us under Dyche? Think again, my friends. If I was that type of player, I’d avoid us like the plague we are.
Dean Williams
13 Posted 02/06/2023 at 16:57:40
Still think there's s player in there.
Ashley Roberts
14 Posted 02/06/2023 at 17:02:48
We definitely need a quality left back. Unless Mykelenko improves considerably I think we need to find somebody who can both defend and join the attack. Mykelenko would be good cover. I am hoping that Patterson will kick on next season and not become another Everton sick note.
Martin Mason
15 Posted 02/06/2023 at 17:11:41
I watched Mykolenko down at Brighton and he was superb against a very good Brighton RW. He was well covered by McNeil and Tchaikovsky and this has to be remembered, the full backs don't defend alone. What will buying better than Mykolenko cost? £15MM? Is that really going to happen. I can see more of a wing back in him than Full back but hold tight, he'll fit into a good side.
Steve Brown
16 Posted 02/06/2023 at 17:21:15
Tchaikovsky Martin?!
Mark Murphy
17 Posted 02/06/2023 at 17:24:03
Russian composer
Swan song
Etc etc…
Martin Mason
18 Posted 02/06/2023 at 17:26:32
Just a play on Tarkovsky Steve, sorry, obviously not a good one. Won't do it again honest.
Sean Roe
19 Posted 02/06/2023 at 17:29:16
Somebody somewhere deems him not good enough and I have every faith in our recruitment process.
Martin Mason
20 Posted 02/06/2023 at 17:37:41
Sean@19 We are amongst the worst fans in the EPL for slagging off our own players. That is one thing that really has to change now. We're going to have a lot of players that will need support and no cavalry to help. It's funny really, it just doesn't happen at away games which is what I see mostly, it happens to some extent at home from the dreadful Blue Boo Boys and it is a crescendo from people who patently don't see the games. Funny that isn't it?
Andy Crooks
21 Posted 02/06/2023 at 17:39:52
Martin, check out Kieran Kinsella's brilliant gag on Mark Taylor's talking points thread.
Ed Prytherch
22 Posted 02/06/2023 at 17:51:42
Ashley 14, fullbacks playing too far up the field got us into trouble over and over again until Dyche arrived. Nkounkou was never going to get playing time in his system.
Sean Roe
23 Posted 02/06/2023 at 18:24:18

I can't speak for anybody else but the only time I slate a player is when they don't make any effort. We've had our fair share of them over the years, Schneiderlin springs to mind. Sadly many of our players just aren't good enough.
I'm hoping we are now turning the corner and not keeping the likes of Nkounkou and Coady turn out to be the correct decision.

I agree that we as fans are very quick to turn on the players but I think that is just society in general now, everybody seems to want everything right this minute.

Dupont Koo
24 Posted 03/06/2023 at 01:37:37
Mates, hate to wipe salts onto our own wounds...

It's €2 Million! Not even £2 Million! XD

For someone who has only played in Championship and Ligue 2, that sum sounds okay. If only he could be a bit more versatile (correct me if I'm wrong, both Marco Silva & Don Carlo tried to play him as a left-winger or left-midfielder and they came up empty), he might have had more chances with us.

While the paltry transfer fee sounds like a fire sale and some might point their fingers at Brands and/or Thelwell, we have to be mindful that he only accepted a 1-year extension last summer, so we just have to take whatever cash that is out there.

Added bonus is that the paltry sum will be logged into the books for the Financial Year 2022-23 (alongside the £25 Million sale of Moise Kean & £40 Million sale of Anthony Gordon, Yeah!) – every penny counts and helps.

(Quick tangent: he might not be flawless, but let's give Brands his proper credit. He might have bought Kean for £25 Million and sold him for par 4 years later. But don't forget he ripped off a de-facto profit on Kean via 3 seasons of loan fees from PSG & Juve. We should all thank him for setting the iron-clad obligation to buy on Kean from which Juve couldn't get out earlier this year and had to pay us in one lump sum.)

Kieran Kinsella
25 Posted 03/06/2023 at 02:08:45

You're too forgiving mate. The loan fee for Kean doesn't offset the £25 million plus exorbitant wages Brands spent on his long-term target, Gomes. Or the £150k a week for “free transfer” Bernard. Presumably he's to blame for Godfrey too seeing as Carlo said he'd never heard of him.

Derek Knox
26 Posted 05/06/2023 at 17:26:10
Steve @ 16, I thought Tarkowsky, Aka, Tchaikovsky, looked well Composed at Brighton ! :-)
Will Mabon
27 Posted 05/06/2023 at 18:06:10
Every time a thread takes this path, it reminds of the terrible recruitment since the dawn of the big money. Just shocking - like a deliberate destruction plan.
Si Cooper
28 Posted 06/06/2023 at 22:40:26
He has seemingly found his level in the French second division and people are worried we've let a potential star player leave?

The fee obviously isn't high but at some point we have to simply wave goodbye to those who aren't showing they are worth holding on to.

There will obviously be some examples but overall I don't think we get it wrong that often when young players are allowed to leave.

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