Niels Nkounkou must look to leave Everton on loan in the January transfer window after Carlo Ancelotti revealed “he has to improve”.
Ancelotti has defended his decision to overlook Nkounkou in the Toffees’ recent Premier League fixtures, by declaring his belief that the young Frenchman is not yet ready to play regular first-team action.
Nkounkou joined the Goodison Park natives this summer following his release by Olympique de Marseille and quickly established himself in the senior fold, starting all three of Everton’s Carabao Cup ties and replacing the suspended Lucas Digne in the league against Newcastle United.
The St. James’ Park affair has been Nkounkou’s only Premier League minutes to date, with Ancelotti opting for Alex Iwobi, Fabian Delph and Ben Godfrey to feature in place of Digne following the France international requiring surgery after sustaining ankle ligament damage.
Ancelotti says he will continue favouring makeshift alternatives for the time being, much to Nkounkou’s likely disappointment.
“Absolutely not. It is a tactical decision,” Ancelotti said, via quotes by the Liverpool Echo, when asked why Nkounkou failed to make the matchday squad against Chelsea.
“Unfortunately, I think he did well and is doing well. To be in the squad, to be in the team he needs more experience. For him, it is the first year at a top-level as a professional, he has to improve, he is improving.
“There’s no doubt about his professionalism. He is really focused in training, he’s going to play but in this moment I prefer more experienced players.”
Ancelotti stating that he will continue to favour makeshift alternatives whilst Digne is sidelined should see Nkounkou bang on the Italian’s office door demanding that he and Everton Director of Football Marcel Brands source a January loan so that the 20-year-old can play regular senior football.
Everton are expected to be without Digne for up to three months following his surgery, which may be a long time but evidently is not enough for Nkounkou to display his worth this season.
The Marseille product has not been seen in a matchday squad since featuring against Newcastle, where he was replaced after 69 minutes having won five of 12 ground duels, registered four successful tackles, four clearances, four attempted crosses and one shot, per SofaScore.
And yet Nkounkou, who his agent Yvan Le Mee describes as a “strong, powerful, technical and very fast” defender, has not been looked on fondly by Ancelotti despite stating he would be given minutes at Burnley earlier this month.
“Nkounkou was not in the squad [vs Leeds] because I have 11 players, I decided to put Iwobi on the left. The squad is really big,” the former Chelsea boss said, via quotes by the Liverpool Echo.
“He’s still young, he needs more experience, he needs to work more. But I am honestly satisfied for what he is doing. He will have time in the next game because we have a lot of games.”
Ancelotti again voicing his belief that Nkounkou needs more time and experience before he can feature will only be resolved with a loan spell, not in training, and a move to a Championship side is surely a must so that he can return in the summer ready to go into Everton’s first-team and contend for game time.