With the season finally over, here at The Toffee Blues it is time for one final loan report. Some players excelled out on loan, becoming fan favourites, others fell down the pecking order, and some unfortunately had their loans cut short by injury.
This report will give a brief overview of each players time at their respective clubs, looking at how they performed and what the fans thought of them. It will also give an assessment on whether the loan was successful or not, before offering an opinion on what the players future might hold.
Dele – Besiktas – 3rd out 19th
When Dele left for Besiktas at the start of the season, fans across the country were saddened to see him move. No disrespect to the Turkish league, but it is not a league where a 26-year-old player should be playing, especially one with Dele’s talent.
Yet some fans were hopeful that he could find his feet and start enjoying football again. And he started brightly, scoring his first goal in over a year on 4 September 2022 in a 3-2 win over Ankaragücü. But this was arguably as good as it got for the now 27-year-old.
When manager Senol Günes took over on 28 October, he said Dele was ‘below expectations in terms of efficiency’. After Günes was appointed, Dele only featured seven times, being left on the bench and out of the squad altogether for most games.
His season then ended early as he returned to Everton in April 2023 for an assessment on an injury picked up at the Super Eagles. At the same time, they wanted to cancel the loan as they knew the player was not going to play for the club again.
The loan to Besiktas was meant to reignite Dele’s career, but instead his career looks to have imploded. He is still under contract at the Blues until next season, but it is unlikely we will see him in a blue shirt again.
This comes after Alex Iwobi said that former Everton manager Frank Lampard could not ‘put his trust in him’ as he did not perform in drills, despite being a ‘joke’ in training matches, regularly scoring and assisting.
And with Sean Dyche being big on fitness, pride and commitment, it could spell the end of Dele’s Everton career.
Jean-Philippe Gbamin – Trabzonspor – 6th out of 19
The Ivorian joined Trabzonspor in August, looking to put his injury hell at the Toffees behind him and play regularly. He made his debut on 28 August playing forty-five minutes, having a solid game.
He played the next three games, playing 146 minutes out of a possible 270 before a foot injury ruled him out of action for a week. After the injury he was able to put together a solid run of games, playing ninety minutes five times.
However, another injury ruled him out of action for three weeks, and after this he found it hard to get back into the team.
In all competitions, he made 19 appearances, and returned to Everton at the end of his loan. Yet it is almost certain, that with a year left on his contract, he will not be at the Blues much longer.
His agent recently described his time at the club as ‘a nightmare’ and that Gbamin wanted to leave. He also said that there were options in Russia and Turkey for his client. It is safe to say that we will not be seeing Jean-Philippe Gbamin in an Everton shirt again.
Jarrad Branthwaite – PSV Eindhoven – 2nd out of 18
One of the more successful loan spells, perhaps the most successful of any Everton player out on loan, is that of Jarrad Branthwaite and PSV Eindhoven.
He was signed on a season-long loan by PSV Director of Football Marcel Brands, the same Marcel Brands that signed him for Everton.
He initially struggled for game time under Ruud van Nistelrooy, only playing in a handful of games, until 12 November , when he played the full ninety minutes in the 1-0 defeat to AZ Alkmaar. Despite the result, Branthwaite had a good game, and it was enough for van Nistelrooy to trust him and start him for the rest of the season.
He also chipped in with a few goals too, scoring two in the 3-1 win over FC Emmen in the KNVB Cup on 8 February, then getting his first league goal three days later in the 6-0 rout of Groningen.
He played thirty-seven games in all competitions for the Boeren, scoring four goals. He was also the only Everton player to win any silverware, after PSV beat Ajax on penalties to win the KNVB Cup. He did also score an own goal in this game, but it did not affect the outcome of the game.
PSV fans have urged the club to make the loan permanent, and they reportedly had a £15 million bid rejected by the Blues a few months back. However, it is believed that they do not have the funds to match Everton’s valuation.
Branthwaite himself has said that he would welcome going back to PSV, though also saying he wants to return to Everton. And with the departures of Conor Coady and Yerry Mina, Branthwaite should become one of James Tarkowski’s partner at centre-half.
Hopefully, following his success at PSV, we should be seeing the 20-year-old in a royal blue shirt next season.
João Virgínia – SC Cambuur – 17th out of 18
Virgínia’s loan at SC Cambuur got off to a decent start, becoming their number one as they returned to the Eredivisie for the first time since 2016.
His debut was in a 2-0 defeat to Excelsior Rotterdam, however he kept his first clean sheet the following game against FC Utrecht.
However, he was dropped after a series of poor performances for the game against Groningen in late January, and did not feature again throughout the loan. The Portuguese goalkeeper only made seventeen appearances in all competitions.
This was the third unsuccessful loan of Virginía’s Everton career, following spells at Reading and Sporting Lisbon. He is under contract with the Blues until next season, and with the departure of Asmir Begovic and the expected departure of Andy Lonergan, Virgínia’s Everton future remains up in the air.
André Gomes – Lille – 5th out of 20
Gomes’s time at Lille was another successful loan both for player and for Everton Football Club. He got regular minutes at Lille, playing twenty-seven times across all competitions, and forming a formidable partnership in midfield with Benjamin André and Jonas Martin. Some French journalists labelled them the best midfield in France.
The Portuguese also added a few goals to his game, scoring three times for the club, including a stunner against Ajaccio, helping Lille finish fifth and qualifying for the Europa League. He excelled in the French league, partly due to it being played at a slower pace to the Premier League. Gomes dictated a lot of games with his passing ability and positional awareness, making him one of the standout signings of the season in Ligue 1.
His performances impressed the Lille faithful a lot, with many fans urging the club to sign him on a permanent basis. However, it is not known if Paulo Fonseca’s side have the funds available. This has opened the door for other potential suitors in Spain and Gomes’s home country of Portugal.
The future for Gomes, who is under contract until next June, is probably away from the Toffees, with Amadou Onana, Abdoulaye Doucouré, Idrissa Gana Gueye, James Garner and even Tom Davies ahead of him in the pecking order.
As has been written many times in these reports, if he is to leave, he leaves with the respect and best wishes of every Evertonian.
Niels Nkounkou – Cardiff City & Saint-Étienne – 8th out of 20
Nkounkou actually had two loans over the course of last season. His first was at Championship side Cardiff City, originally on a season-long loan, yet it was unsuccessful. The 22-year-old only managed one assist in eighteen appearances for the Bluebirds. The loan was cancelled and he was immediately loaned to Saint-Étienne in Ligue 2 where he flourished.
He was one of the standout players of the season, with Saint-Étienne using him as more of a left-winger, as opposed to Cardiff who used him primarily as a left-back.
This allowed the Frenchman to have more of an impact on the game in an attacking sense, and he racked up a number of impressive performances. In twenty games for the Loire outfit, he scored six goals and got eight assists. He was also awarded the Ligue 2 Player of the Month for February following his outstanding displays.
Fans of Saint-Étienne had been calling relentlessly for the club to make his deal permanent, but it was originally thought they did not have enough money. However, Nkounkou has joined Laurent Batlles side for an undisclosed fee, though there are rumours he will be moved on straightaway for a profit.
Everyone at The Toffee Blues wishes Niels the best for the future.
Tom Cannon – Preston North End – 12th out of 24
Tom Cannon joined Preston North End in the January transfer window following Ellis Simms return. The plan was for the Everton under-21 striker to get regular minutes in a challenging league. Whilst this did not happen to begin with, Cannon earned himself a place in Ryan Lowe’s starting XI and did not look back.
Some Evertonians thought that the Championship was too much of a jump for Cannon, who had only just turned nineteen. Yet he proved the doubters wrong and had a hugely successful loan spell.
He scored eight goals in twenty Championship matches, and was a huge hit with the Preston faithful. He almost single-handedly earned Preston a promotion place, as they went on a run of four wins in five games, with Cannon averaging a goal a game.
Many Preston fans want to see him return to the club in the summer on a season-long loan, although his future could lie at Everton, depending if the striker situation gets resolved over the next few months.
Ellis Simms – Sunderland – 6th out of 24
Although Simms was recalled by the Toffees in late December to provide cover for the injured Dominic Calvert-Lewin, he still had a very successful debut spell in the Championship.
He joined the Black Cats at the start of the campaign, and formed a formidable partnership with Ross Stewart. Simms also proved that he could make the jump from Scottish football and League One, after previously being loaned to Hearts and Blackpool respectively.
In his debut season in the Championship, he scored seven goals in seventeen appearances, with Sunderland fans sad to see him recalled.
Evertonians were also unimpressed with how little the 21-year-old was used when he returned, only featuring eleven times, with the majority being cameos off the bench. However he did score a vital goal in the 2-2 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, earning the Blues a point, which ultimately kept them up.
As with Cannon, it is unclear as to where Simms future lies for now, but hopefully it will be resolved soon.
EFL League One
Ryan Astley – Accrington Stanley – 23rd out of 24
Ryan Astley, a member of the Everton under-23s who won the Premier League 2 in 2018, moved to Accrington Stanley at the start of the season for regular first-team football.
He made thirty-two appearances across all competitions, scoring four goals as well. Stanley fans were impressed by him, despite their teams overall performances which saw them slip down the table, and eventually relegated at the end of the season.
However, Astley’s loan was cut short because of an ankle injury in February and he did not feature for the club again.
With his contract expiring at the end of June, his future may well lie away from Everton, with the club reportedly in the market for fullbacks.
Lewis Dobbin – Derby County – 7th out of 24
Dobbin also followed Astley to League One, joining Derby County on a season-long loan. His stats make for interesting reading, as he made fifty-six appearances in all competitions for Paul Warne’s side, scoring five and assisting six.
However, towards the end of the season, a lot of his appearances were from the bench. In fact, his last seven appearances were as a substitute, and only totalled 120 minutes.
Rams fans did like Dobbin, and praised his attitude and his resilience in games. But there was an overwhelming opinion that his final product was not good enough, and this is reflected in his stats for the season.
With two years remaining on his contract, it is likely Dobbin will be sent out on loan again, potentially with an option for the club to sign him at the end of it.
Lewis Gibson – Bristol Rovers – 17th out of 24
Lewis Gibson joined Bristol Rovers on a season-long loan in July, hoping that this loan would be more successful than injury-hit previous ones.
He made thirty-three appearances for Joey Barton’s side, captaining the team on two occasions. However, his campaign was again hit by injuries, missing eighteen games in total with thigh problems.
When he was fit, he was used as part of a back three and four, playing at fullback and also centre-half. He brought balance to the defence as a left-footed player, and the fans rated him very highly.
Gibson is another whose Everton contract is up at the end of June, and with the centre-back position as congested as it is at Goodison Park, it seems unlikely he will make his debut for the Blues.
Tyler Onyango – Burton Albion & Forest Green Rovers – 24th out of 24
Onyango also featured for two League One clubs over the course of last season, though both were unsuccessful for different reasons.
At Burton Albion, he regularly struggled for game time, only making sixteen appearances out of a possible twenty-five, with only four of these being the full ninety minutes.
He was recalled from Burton Albion, and joined Duncan Ferguson’s Forest Green Rovers, to try and help them avoid relegation back to League Two.
However, he was only able to make three starts before pulling up in the 21st minute during the game against Morecambe with a hamstring injury. Onyango subsequently returned to Everton for treatment.
It is important to remember that Onyango has only just turned 20 and still has two years left on his contract. He should hopefully be out on loan next season, and have a better campaign than the last.
Lewis Warrington – Fleetwood Town – 13th out of 24
Warrington joined Fleetwood on 1 September 2022, just over a week after making his senior debut for the Toffees against the same team.
He was a mainstay throughout the entire season, playing forty-six games for Scott Brown’s side, and regularly impressing.
The Cod Army faithful were impressed by his tenacity and his willingness to get on the ball, something that former Everton manager Frank Lampard was also impressed with.
The 20-year-old was praised a lot by Fleetwood manager Scott Brown, which is very high praise given Brown’s career with Celtic.
Warrington still has a year left on his current deal, though an extension is likely. His next step, following his performances in League One, would be a loan to a Championship club.
National League North
Harry Tyrer – Chester – 3rd out of 24
Tyrer’s loan at Chester is arguably the most successful loan of an Everton player this season. He played every minute of every game as Chester finished third in the National League North. Yet, they were not able to gain promotion to the National League after losing 1-0 at home to Brackley Town in the play-offs.
Despite this, Tyrer still had an amazing season, keeping eighteen clean sheets in forty-six games, and having the best defence in the league, conceding just forty-one goals. He was also named in the Vanarama National League North’s Team of the Season.
The phrase ‘never fall in love with a loan player’ is often uttered, but none more so than Chester fans and Harry Tyrer. His trademark celebration of jumping in with the fans after a win endeared him to the Seals faithful, as well as his stellar performances.
They want the 21-year-old to return to the club next season, but they know that it is a pipe dream as Tyrer will get a loan to a team further up the English pyramid.
He has been tipped by many to be Everton goalkeeper in a few years time, but in the meantime loans will do him the world of good and continue to test him.