Everton midfielder Anthony Gordon must step up for Carlo Ancelotti as Bernard reportedly nears a move to UAE outfit Al Nasr.
According to the Liverpool Echo, Toffees chiefs are in official negotiations with Al Nasr over a deal for Bernard.
The Brazilian has entered into the final 18-months of his £120,000-per-week contract and has fallen out of favour under Carlo Ancelotti, with the Italian only starting him twice in the Premier League this season.
Everton are hoping to see a deal for Bernard finalised before Monday night’s deadline in order to clear his lucrative terms from the club’s wage bill, and may even allow the 28-year-old to secure a free transfer just two-and-a-half years on from joining the Blues.
Bernard was omitted from Ancelotti’s matchday squad as Everton lost 2-0 at home to Newcastle United on Saturday after being an unused substitute in the prior 1-1 draw with Leicester City, the 12th time this season that he had failed to enter a top-flight fixture from the bench.
Previous reports had suggested that Al Nasr had agreed to sign Bernard on loan with a €5m (£4.5m) obligation to turn the deal permanent at the end of the season, despite claims of Everton wanting £9m amid interest from AS Roma.
Everton parting with Bernard before Monday night’s 23:00 shut off is likely to have implications on Gordon’s future at Goodison Park, with the winger unlikely to be allowed to leave on loan following interest from Championship and Bundesliga clubs.
Everton retaining Gordon, if Bernard’s deal to join Al Nasr goes through, will leave Ancelotti needing the youth product to step up, after a handful of underwhelming outings from the youngster in recent weeks and months.
David Unsworth has previously backed Gordon to find a home for himself on the wing, for he boasts “unbelievable pace” and a growing eye for the final pass, but the forward let Everton and Ancelotti down when fielded in the FA Cup against Rotherham United earlier this month.
Gordon was criticised for his poor body language during the third-round tie having shrieked into the shadows after a promising start, going from turning defenders inside out and carving the backline apart to rarely completing a pass and offering no end product.
That performance also came in only the 19-year-old’s third start of the season across all senior competitions, while playing a mere 87 minutes of Premier League action thanks partly to being hauled off just 10 minutes into the second-half at Sheffield United.
Gordon failed to create many one-vs-one opportunities at Bramall Lane and Ancelotti will need to see the England U20 do more if he is to offer the threat from the left that £13.5m-rated flop Bernard could not offer Everton.
It was also those performances that have helped to see Lucas Digne emerge ahead of Gordon, as well as Bernard, in Ancelotti’s pecking order for wide-left options, after the French full-back opened the Wolverhampton Wanderers and Leicester games in midfield.
If Gordon is to stay at Goodison Park and not leave on loan in line with Bernard’s exit, it has to be time for the Liverpool-born prospect to step up and make the position his.
AND in other news, a £70k-p/w gem let Carlo Ancelotti down as Everton lost to Newcastle…