Marcel Brands must secure a last-ditch loan deal for Everton midfielder Beni Baningime to join Wayne Rooney’s Derby County on Deadline Day.
According to Football Insider, Rooney has contacted club figures at Goodison Park to sound out the 22-year-old’s availability in late efforts to bolster the core of his Rams side.
Derby are staring down the barrel of a full-blown relegation fight this season, with even a run of three-straight wins only moving the Pride Park outfit five points clear of the Championship drop zone, where 22nd-placed Rotherham United hold two games in hand.
Carlo Ancelotti is said to be happy to sanction a deal for Baningime to see out the rest of the season away from Merseyside, following several enquiries from clubs showing an interest in the Toffees product during the winter transfer window.
Derby are on pole for his signature, as Rooney looks to replace Millwall-bound George Evans and Swansea City-bound Morgan Whittaker.
Baningime is yet to play a second of senior football this season with Ancelotti opting to omit the £1m-rated talent from each of his matchday squads across all competitions, but has started all 13 of Everton’s Premier League 2 fixtures under David Unsworth this term.
Unsworth has previously described Baningime as a player in the mould of former and current Chelsea enforcers Claude Makelele and N’Golo Kante, but has failed to see the £8,000-per-week prospect build on his 12 career first-team outings for the Blues.
Everton’s Director of Football Brands should be leaping at the chance to reach an agreement for Baningime to see out the remainder of the season at Derby, as Ancelotti clearly does not consider the 22-year-old to be at a high enough standard for the Toffees first-team.
It has been a long time since the midfielder featured in the senior fold at Goodison Park, with his last outing coming back in April 2018, despite Unsworth lauding the “class act” and suggesting he “shouldn’t be playing at this level” following an U23s win in September 2019.
Derby would represent a great opportunity for Baningime to kick start his career with Rooney being an admirer of his potential, having played alongside the DR Congo-born enforcer during the England icon’s second spell with Everton.
Rooney is also showing that he is not afraid to place his trust in young players now that he has taken the step into the management, with 19-year-old talent Jason Knight playing the full 90 minutes in each of his four games in charge and even captaining the Rams in three of those matches.
Baningime needs that level of trust placed in him in a senior setting for his development, otherwise the youngster’s progress will only continue to stagnate. With his Everton contract also up in the summer of 2022, the Toffees need him playing if they are to ever see him as a part of their future, and Derby could be the dream destination for all involved.