Niels Nkounkou could be the long-term answer that Everton seek regarding their current left sided issues, as the 22-year-old attacking full-back impresses on loan.
The French international joined the Blues in 2020 as a free transfer, where he quickly made an impression under then manager Carlo Ancelotti. A memorable back-heel assist in a 5-2 victory against Fleetwood Town in the EFL Cup showed what he can do, with the youngster though still raw, showing an eagerness to get forward.
Though filled with potential, it was clear the former Marseille B defender would benefit from a spell away from Goodison Park on loan, and has since had successful periods at Standard Liege and Cardiff City.
Indeed, currently back in his home country with Ligue 2 outfit Saint-Etienne, Nkounkou has blossomed since his January loan move, scoring twice and providing five assists in 10 games so far for the French side.
With two goals and an assist every other game, it is difficult to ignore the impact of the 22-year-old going forward, especially as Everton have struggled to create and convert chances throughout this campaign, and though he may be competing in an inferior league, he clearly has all of the attributes to be Sean Dyche’s first choice left-back.
Nkounkou brings defensive and offensive qualities which Everton lack
Ukrainian international Vitaliy Mykolenko currently occupies Everton’s left-back spot, and while the 23-year-old is competent defensively, and has shown great character during his time at Goodison Park, he offers very little in attack.
MORE EVERTON STORIES
Indeed, Premier League football is dominated by attacking full-backs, and Everton have been blessed with the likes of Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman over the years, but with just one goal and no assists in 40 league appearances for the club, the Ukrainian international does not meet the criteria of a modern full-back.
Once back from his loan spell, Nkounkou could provide real competition to Myko and offer Everton a threat down the left that they currently lack.
However, with just little over a year remaining on Nkounkou’s current deal with the Blues, Everton may want to tie down the defender on a long-term contract, or face losing him for nothing.