Everton injury latest on Richarlison and Mina, Benitez explains why he signed El Ghazi, gives transfer update

Richarlison and Yerry Mina have both returned to Everton training while Anwar El Ghazi became the club’s third signing of the January transfer window.

Rafa Benitez has been speaking to the media ahead of Everton’s trip to Norwich City in the Premier League on Saturday (15.00).

Here are the key points from the Toffees manager’s pre-match press conference.

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El Ghazi’s arrival

Everton completed their third signing of the January transfer window when swooping for Anwar El Ghazi on Thursday.

The winger moves to Goodison Park on loan for the remainder of the season.

Some supporters have been left underwhelmed but Benitez insists El Ghazi, who will be in the squad against Norwich, will add quality.

Anwar El Ghazi in action for Aston Villa. Picture: BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images

He said: “To be fair, it was part of the deal with Digne when we started the negotiations.

“Thinking about the Covid situation, possible injuries and the African Cup of Nations with Alex Iwobi away, the possibility to bring someone in with quality that could give us different options.

“The good thing is it’s a loan with an option so the player has to prove himself. We can see him, it’s a win-win situation if he’s doing well, everyone will be happy. We have more quality in the squad and more competition.

“We were talking about that before. We needed a player in this area capable of playing in different positions.

“We did our research and in terms of quality and personality, he wants to impress.”

Digne’s departure

Lucas Digne’s exit from Everton was also confirmed yesterday.

He left for Aston Villa for a fee of around £25 million.

Digne had an off-field dispute with Benitez in December over tactics and told the manager he wanted to leave earlier in the window.

On his departure, Benitez said: “The reality is, when you’re thinking about a player who wants to leave, you have an offer and possibility.

“The main thing for me as a manager is to think about my responsibilities to make decisions for the best for the team, club and future.

“We brought in a couple of young players who I’m sure will be good now but even better in the future.

“Overall, it has to be positive for the club when you’re selling a player who’ll be 29 next year, bring in players who are 22 and 20. We are improving the balance of the squad.

“I am the manager and take responsibility of my decisions. My decision is to think about the team, future, future of the club and we have to move forward and think about that.”

Further transfers

Vitaliy Mykolenko on Evertond debut at Hull. Picture: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Everton have brought in three fresh faces this month. El Ghazi follows Vitaliy Mykolenko and Nathan Patterson - from Dynamo Kiev and Rangers respectively - through the door.

Meanwhile, Digne is the only departure so far.

However, Benitez has not ruled out further incomings.

He said: “We are always hoping to strengthen the squad. If we have an opportunity available, we will try to do the best for us.

“The reality is we balance the books and it’s quite positive for the present and future.

“We’re always open to sany good option. At the same time, I’m pleased we’ve brought in three players this early.

“At the moment, we are happy with the three but are open-minded in anyone else who can improve the team.”

Injury update

Yerry Mina and Richarlison are back in training for Everton. Picture: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Everton fans were delighted to see Richarlison and Yerry Mina back in training this week, having both had respective calf injuries.

Richarlison has been sidelined for more than a month, while Mina has managed just seven appearances this season after also having a hamstring problem.

In addition, Dominic Calvert-Lewin (quad) was rested for last weekend’s 3-2 FA Cup win at Hull following his return from a four-month absence.

Benitez says he will assess if they’ll be involved against Norwich.

He said: “I think all were training yesterday. Not available for injuries is Tom Davies, who has had his [hamstring] operation.

“In terms of injuries, everyone was training yesterday. Now we have to treat them carefully.

“At the moment, they are fine then it’s up to us to can be who’s available for this game and the next game.”

On how long Davies will be sidelined for, Benitez said: “It’s difficult to say. These kind of things, you’re expecting more than one month.

“It has to be up to the surgeon and physio but I’m looking at 1-2 months.”