Carlo Ancelotti must strive to offload Jonjoe Kenny at the first available opportunity amid doubt in the defender’s long-term Everton future.
According to the Daily Mail, Kenny may have already played his final game in royal blue with the Toffees likely to look to move the 23-year-old on at the end of the season.
The right-back is currently on loan with Scottish Premiership giants Celtic after sealing a Deadline Day move to Parkhead, having seen a potential permanent transfer to Burnley fall through.
The Clarets were priced out of the market to sign Kenny in January as Everton sought a £10m fee (Sunday Mirror, 24/1, p. 67), which would have taken up too high a percentage of the Turf Moor outfit’s mid-season budget.
Any hopes Everton had of selling Kenny to the Celtic at the end of his time on loan may have come to an end earlier this week, with Hoops boss Neil Lennon stepping down from his position after falling 18 points behind Premiership leaders and bitter rivals Rangers.
Lennon was likely a driving force behind Kenny’s move to Parkhead at the start of the month, with the Northern Irishman a keen admirer of the Everton outcast, while Celtic were tipped to explore a permanent deal if the former England U21 international impresses.
But Kenny’s start to life in Glasgow has not been perfect, with former Hoops defender Frank McAvennie already questioning the £6.5m-rated full-back’s emerging refusal to cross the ball.
“We brought in Jonjoe Kenny and in the first couple of games he was whipping the ball across the box but that has stopped now,” he told Football Insider. “Maybe he is fed up because nobody is there. He might be thinking; ‘What’s the point?’ Everyone wants the ball into feet.”
After delivering an accurate cross in each of his first two Celtic appearances, Kenny is yet to add to his record having now gone four Premiership games without a single accurate attempt, per WhoScored.
His average match rating over his last three outings (6.73) is also far below that of his first three games (7.34), having endured a rapid decline after a personal-best 7.51 on debut against Kilmarnock to earn a personal-worst 6.61 last time out away to Ross County.
If Kenny had any hopes of returning to Goodison Park and forging a career with Everton as Seamus Coleman’s eventual successor, he could not afford to have many off days at Celtic.
But those performances are coming too often, with Kenny also offering fewer successful tackles (1.7) per game in the Premiership than Mason Holgate (2.2) and Coleman (2.1) have offered Ancelotti in the Premier League this season.
Holgate (3.9) and Coleman (2.0) have also averaged a higher number of clearances when fielded at right-back than Kenny (1.3) has for Celtic, suggesting the academy graduate is just not fit to make the grade on Merseyside.
And with Lennon now gone at Celtic, Everton may struggle to find a suitor willing to buy the 2022 free-agent, so must jump at the first opportunity and not hold out at the risk of all deals falling through.
AND in other news, Everton face European competition to sign a £35m target this summer…