The first loan report in just under a month is here at The Toffee Blues, and this edition is a bumper one. Club football returned for most loanees, and with it came lots of goals, assists and players making their way back from injuries and suspensions.
However for others, such as Joao Virginia and Jean-Philippe Gbamin, their loans are effectively at an end as yet again, they did not feature for their clubs.
Jarrad Branthwaite – PSV Eindhoven – 3rd/18
Branthwaite missed PSV’s games against NEC and Spakenburg (in the Eredivise and the KNVB Cup respectively) with a thigh injury he picked up before the international break.
He made his return to first-team action in the 4-0 win over Excelsior last Saturday, coming on in the 63rd minute, with manager Ruud van Nistelrooy not wanting to rush back one of his standout performers of the season.
Branthwaite’s stock has risen since he joined the Dutch club, and PSV reportedly had a £15 million bid rejected in January. However, Dutch football reporter Marco Timmer believes it will be unlikely that the Boeren outfit will be able to sign him permanently, because they do not have the funds to spend upwards of £30 million.
PSV are in action Sunday afternoon, with Branthwaite hoping to be fit enough to return to the starting XI.
André Gomes – Lille – 5th/20
Lille’s unbeaten run came to an end last Saturday, falling to a 1-0 defeat at Angers. Gomes missed the victory against Lorient through suspension the previous weekend, after picking up too many yellow cards. He was reinstated in midfield by Paulo Fonseca for last weekend’s defeat.
The Portuguese, who looks likely to leave the Blues at the end of the season, has impressed whilst on loan at Lille, forming one of the best midfield partnerships in the league.
In a survey on Twitter posted by a Lille fan page (which has garnered almost 2,000 votes), 94% of people want to sign the midfielder permanently. However, they may face competition as Gomes has been attracting interest from Portugal and Spain according to Jeunes Footeux.
Whatever the outcome for Gomes, whether he leaves or he is given another chance by Sean Dyche, many Evertonians will wish him well in the next stage of his career, especially following his comments in an interview with The Athletic.
In the interview with Paddy Boyland, he said ‘I love Everton. The club. The fans. The workers. I’m very attached to them’.
Niels Nkounkou – Saint-Étienne – 11th/20
Nkounkou is loving his time in eastern France, and continues to impress in the French second division. He played 71 minutes in the 2-0 win over Niort at the start of April, and arguably had his best game for Saint-Étienne last Saturday.
He scored two goals in their 4-2 win over Paris FC, one a screamer from halfway inside the Paris FC half. This has taken him to eleven goal involvements in twelve appearances (four goals, seven assists).
His performances have been so impressive, that supporters of Saint-Étienne are wanting the club to sign him permanently, and are urging Nkounkou to ‘sign your contract for next year’. There is a glimmer of hope for those fans, as Everton have reportedly yet to make a decision on his future.
The Loire outfit do have an option to buy Nkounkou, however the fee is reported to be around £3 million, and it is believed they do not have the funds to sign him. Whether another team decide to sign him, or he returns to Everton, remains to be seen.
Tom Cannon – Preston North End – 7th/24
Tom Cannon continued his fine run of form in a Preston shirt, first scoring in the 3-1 derby victory over Blackpool just under two weeks ago. This took Cannon’s tally to four goals and one assist in his last six games.
He went on to score both goals in the following weekend’s victory at Queens Park Rangers, which earned him a place in the Championship Team of the Week.
He then backed his performance up with yet another goal against Reading on Monday, taking his tally to seven goals in his last eight games.
Preston have made a late charge for the promotion places, sitting in seventh place after winning four of their last five games. Cannon has spearheaded this late charge, scoring five goals in the run.
The 20-year-old, who joined the Lancashire club on loan in January, has impressed the faithful at Deepdale, with many hoping the club will be able to convince the Blues to let him go out on a season-long loan next season. Some have even put forward the idea of signing him permanently next season, although again this is highly unlikely.
It is safe to assume that Tom Cannon will definitely be in the pre-season setup at Everton come the summer.
English Football League One
Lewis Dobbin – Derby County – 7th/24
Unlike the top-flight leagues, the English football pyramid continued throughout the international break.
Derby County played three games in this time, losing all three by the same score line, 2-0. Lewis Dobbin only started the game against Peterborough United, making substitute appearances against Fleetwood Town and Ipswich Town.
With Derby losing those three games, and Dobbin not featuring an awful lot, some fans had been calling for Dobbin to play in the middle of the pitch. This is because he is a willing runner with and without the ball, and fans argue he is one of their more creative players.
However, the fans did not get their wish. Despite better performances against Forest Green Rovers, a 2-0 victory, and a 1-1 draw with MK Dons, Dobbin again only featured off the bench, playing a combined twenty-four minutes across the two games.
Derby are in action against Bristol Rovers in their next game, it will be interesting to see if Dobbin will start.
Lewis Gibson – Bristol Rovers – 14th/24
Bristol Rovers only played one game over the international break, as their game against Shrewsbury Town was postponed. The game that was played was a 2-0 home defeat to Portsmouth, in which Lewis Gibson played the full 90 minutes and captained the side for the first time.
The defender also got his first goal for the club and his first senior goal, scoring the equaliser as Joey Barton’s side came back to beat Fleetwood Town 2-1.
Many of the the Gas’ faithful have been impressed by him, and are hoping the club can keep him beyond this season.
With the number of centre-backs already at the club, and Jarrad Branthwaite impressing out on loan at PSV, the Toffees may look to move Gibson on, especially with his contract running out at the end of this season.
Lewis Warrington – Fleetwood Town – 15th/24
Lewis Warrington has been talking about how his loan at Fleetwood has been the perfect loan for him.
The 20-year-old has made 40 appearances in all competitions for Scott Brown’s side, becoming an integral part of the team, and also a fan favourite.
Speaking to Fleetwood’s media team, Warrington said ‘It’s been the perfect loan up to now; I’ve learned loads off the gaffer and his staff, and I’ve gotten better as a player in terms of a positional sense and what he wants from me’. This has translated into his game, with Warrington being one of the Cod Army’s standout players this season.
However, Fleetwood have lost their last two games by the same score line, 2-1, with Warrington being substituted in both. But in those games, he was taken off in tactical substitutions by Scott Brown, and not because of poor performances.
It is likely that the midfielder will return to Sean Dyche’s side at the end of the loan, but for now, he is concentrated on making sure Fleetwood finish ‘as high as possible come the end of the season’.
National League North
Harry Tyrer – Chester – 3rd/24
Chester are currently on a five-match unbeaten run, following their surprise defeat to Peterborough Sports in the middle of March.
Speaking on Chester’s official podcast, Tyrer spoke about his loan, and how much the fans support has meant to him. He said ‘You’ve got to show you care as much as they do. Their support keeps us going’.
Tyrer has arguably been the best goalkeeper in the division, boasting the second-best defence in the league. And the Seals faithful have taken him to their hearts, with many knowing that he will not be at the club next season.
And the goalkeeper was at it again following Chester’s 2-1 victory over Southport on Monday night. He not only made a number of saves, but also showcased another side to his game, starting a fantastic team goal with a brilliant, accurate goal kick to Adam Thomas, culminating in an outstanding finish by Kurt Willoughby.
With three games left, Tyrer and Chester will be pushing for automatic promotion to the National League, for the first time since the 2016/17 season.