Everton are reportedly looking to shift struggling striker Salomon Rondon, with the Venezuelan international having failed to make an impact at the club over the past year or so.
Amid those reports regarding the 91-cap dud, the transfer insider stated:
“Everton are certainly willing to let him go, it hasn’t really worked. It was Rafa Benitez who wanted him and that experiment just hasn’t really worked at all. Unfortunately, it’s not for the want of trying and he’s someone who’s put a shift in but he’s just not the player he was.
“He’s played more minutes than he thought he would get, or Everton would thought they would need to use him for, but it’s clear his form isn’t going to improve, he’s had enough chances to.”
The former West Bromwich Albion marksman had seemingly been close to a move to Turkey towards the latter stages of the recent window, while he also reportedly rejected the chance to join UAE outfit, Sharjah FC.
A departure now appears “inevitable” for the £2.25m-rated dud, as stated by journalist Pete O’Rourke, with the centre-forward having been on the periphery since his free transfer arrival on Merseyside last summer, during Rafa Benitez’s stint in charge.
The one-time Newcastle United man went on to score just once in 20 Premier League appearances after playing a bit-part role in that dismal debut campaign, having only been afforded one start in the top flight so far this term.
The £20k-per-week brute’s only other start in the current campaign came in the narrow 1-0 victory over Fleetwood Town in the Carabao Cup back in August, with Toffees podcaster Lee McClean subsequently describing the forward as “absolutely terrible” and “one of the worst players [he’s] ever seen in a blue shirt.”
That damning assessment has epitomised just what a wretched time Rondon has endured at the club thus far, with the arrival of Neal Maupay and the return of Dominic Calvert-Lewin from injury ensuring there is little need for the 6 foot 1 menace to remain beyond the winter window.
His departure could well free up space in Lampard’s squad for one of Everton’s promising youngsters, with 18-year-old Francis Okoronkwo one such figure who is potentially on the cusp of securing a first-team place, having sparkled of late in the youth ranks.
The versatile forward is able to feature on the flanks and in a leading role through the middle, notably scoring twice and laying on one assist in that latter starting berth in just two Premier League games at U18 level so far this season.
The highly-rated Englishman was snapped up by the Toffees on a £1m deal from Sunderland last summer, going on to more than prove his worth with eight goals in 13 appearances for the club’s U18 side since then.
The suggestion is that his arrival could well mirror the £1.5m capture of current first-team regular Calvert Lewin from Sheffield United back in 2016, with Lampard and co likely hoping that the emerging ace can enjoy a similar rise to that of his compatriot.
Earmarked as one of the best players of his age in the country, as per the Liverpool Echo, Okoronkwo was also lauded by The Athletic’s Patrick Boyland for his “composed” finish in the FA Youth Cup defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford last season, with the signs all pointing to a player who could well thrive if handed a taste of senior action.
Getting the floundering Rondon out the way first could well help to bolster the Blyth-born gem’s chance of promotion.