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Niels Nkounkou will be given the opportunity to revive his Everton career this summer, according to soccer outlet Football Insider.
The 22-year-old is now on loan in the French second division with Saint-Etienne, a club he joined in January after a planned season-long stint with Cardiff City was cut short.
In his last five games, he has produced four assists and one goal, catching the eye of Everton management with his efforts.
Nkounkou Return to Everton Likely
This has led to speculation that Saint-Etienne could exercise the option to buy included in the deal that allowed Nkounkou to return to his native country midseason.
Yet, insiders have described Everton’s permanent cost as quite substantial and as a sign of their desire to see him realize his potential at Goodison Park.
Nkounkou will be given every opportunity to impress new boss Sean Dyche this summer, should Saint-Etienne be dissuaded by the financial terms.
Dyche has deployed Vitaliy Mykolenko at left-back in each of his first five games in command prior to the Ukrainian’s absence on the trip to Nottingham Forest last weekend due to sickness.
Ruben Vinagre is anticipated to return to Sporting Lisbon following an unsuccessful loan stint, creating a vacancy in that position during the summer.
Since transferring to Merseyside on a temporary basis in July, the Portuguese has amassed just 24 minutes of Premier League action.
As a result, Nkounkou, who has struggled for first-team opportunities at Goodison Park in the past, could assume a backup role to start the upcoming season.
After joining the club on a free transfer from Marseille in the summer of 2020, the Frenchman has made just seven senior appearances.
Upon joining Saint-Etienne, he signed an extension to his contract that will expire in 2024.
Toffees Planning a Summer Swoop for Saints Striker
In other transfer news, it has now emerged that Everton are putting up a bid for Southampton striker Che Adams in the event that the Saints get relegated from the Premier League this season.
Leeds United are also reported to be interested in the 26-year-old, having attempted to sign him on multiple occasions in recent transfer windows.
Everton and Leeds are among the many Premier League clubs eager to sign Adams if Southampton are relegated this season.
The striker’s contract at St. Mary’s Stadium has fewer than 18 months remaining.
On the south coast, he reportedly earns £30,000 a week after joining the club for a record £15 million in 2019.
This season, Adams has contributed nine goals and three assists in 29 appearances as a regular starter for Southampton.
With 13 games remaining in the 2022-23 Premier League season, Southampton is currently one point inside the relegation zone.
The fear of relegation also looms large over Everton and Leeds, whose interest in Adams will be put on hold until safety is ensured.
The teams are currently separated by goal differential, with Everton occupying the 18th position in the standings.
This season, Everton are tied for the fewest goals scored in the Premier League and are in serious need of offensive reinforcements this summer.