Jean-Philippe Gbamin can benefit from Steven Nzonzi’s decision to remain at Stade Rennais for the rest of the season amid rumoured interest from Everton.
Nzonzi was thought to have held discussions with AS Roma over terminating his loan spell early, as Arsenal and Everton closely monitored the situation with a view to forging a pursuit of the 32-year-old during the January transfer window.
Both Arsenal and Everton are understood to have held a long-standing interest in Nzonzi, with the Gunners’ position said to date back to Arsene Wenger’s tenure before the £9m-rated titan joined Roma and subsequently secured temporary moves to Galatasaray and Rennes.
Stade Rennais would be loath to lose Nzonzi this month were he to quit the Roazhon Park natives, for whom he has started for in 18 of their 20 Ligue 1 fixtures this term as Stephan strives to secure another season of European football in north-west France.
Rennes bowed out of the Champions League Group Stage without a win earlier this season, losing twice to Chelsea and Sevilla and once to Russian outfit FK Krasnodar, in which Nzonzi featured in five fixtures and missed one through suspension.
Nzonzi deciding to remain in the capital city of Brittany and see out the season with Rennes may be a blow for Everton having considered his services, but the 32-year-old’s choice will be seen as a positive for Gbamin as he looks to make his comeback from more than a year on the sidelines.
Everton are understood to be hopeful that Gbamin will be able to return to first-team training with the rest of the squad at the end of the month, to bring a curtain down on a miserable 18-months for the £65,000-per-week midfielder.
Gbamin only played 135 minutes of competitive football in the 2019/20 season following a £25m move from Bundesliga outfit 1.FSV Mainz 05 before he faced his first injury in royal blue, with a hamstring strain that led to two rounds of surgery and two relapses.
He then sustained an achilles tendon injury in a training ground incident last May that has kept him watching from the stands as Everton chase qualification for the Champions League, with a side now featuring Allan as the holding enforcer under Carlo Ancelotti.
The arrival of Nzonzi would only have further clustered an already packed engine room beside Tom Davies, Allan, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Fabian Delph and Andre Gomes, and make Gbamin’s route back onto the pitch even tougher.
But Gbamin may soon have his chance to shine and show Everton supporters why Marco Silva identified him as the Toffees’ heir to Idrissa Gana Gueye, and not just an injury-prone 25-year-old.