What Sean Dyche did in the 69th minute said everything about pending Everton summer decision

Everton manager Sean Dyche. Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS/AFP via Getty Images)Everton manager Sean Dyche. Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS/AFP via Getty Images)
Everton manager Sean Dyche. Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS/AFP via Getty Images)
Arnaut Danjuma has not played for Everton since returning from injury.

Sean Dyche has not denied that bringing Jack Harrison to Goodison Park is something he covets.

Given how prominently the winger has featured for Everton during his loan spell from Leeds United, it would scarcely be a surprise. The fact that Harrison arrived at the Toffees with a hip injury, causing him to miss the opening five Premier League fixtures of the season, underlined how much faith Dyche had in the ex-Manchester City man.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

For the majority of the campaign, he has been a regular fixture. He has made 35 appearances, starting 31 of those and recording four goals and three assists. Finances will ultimately dictate whether Harrison can return to Everton on a permanent basis. You get the impression the 27-year-old would be open to a switch, too. Had he been fit, Harrison would have started the Blues’ final home game of the campaign - a 1-0 win over Sheffield United.

But in the case of Arnaut Danjuma, there will be scant talk of bringing him back next term. Evertonians were left incensed when the forward did a shock U-turn to join the Blues in January 2023, instead making a switch to Tottenham Hotspur. But after spending 2023-24 on Merseyside, Danjuma has underwhelmed.

The on-loan Villarreal forward has made only 20 appearances for Dyche’s side, scoring two goals. Danjuma has started only five Premier League fixtures. And since returning from an ankle injury that sidelined him for two months, he has not got off the bench in six matches.

The Sheffield United encounter was a chance for Dyche to cast his eye over Danjuma. It was a dead-rubber and Harrison was unavailable due to being hamstrung. Instead, James Garner was deployed as a makeshift right-midfielder. And when the Everton manager made changes in the 69th minute, he opted to hand Lewis Dobbin a cameo and use it as game-time to develop the academy product.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

There have been brief flashes of Danjuma’s qualities. He impressed in the 2-2 draw at Sheffield United and in the 2-1 defeat at Tottenham when Everton were reduced to 10 men. Dyche also felt Danjuma was starting to build impetus before damaging ankle ligaments in the dying embers of a goalless stalemate at Fulham at the end of January.

However, in truth, Danjuma has felt more like a Kevin Thelwell signing than someone Dyche identified. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, and Everton’s director of football will continue to recruit talent for the Everton boss in the summer and beyond.

But Danjuma was first set to sign when Frank Lampard was still at the helm. The Holland international came back available and the Blues had already laid down the groundwork. Yet his own goals have been against basement side Sheffield United and League Two club Doncaster Rovers in the Carabao Cup.

Given how difficult it was for Dyche and Thelwell to operate in the market, it made sense to bring in a player who had featured in a Champions League semi-final. A calculated gamble, perhaps.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Yet Everton cannot afford to take any punts in the upcoming window. They need players who can swiftly adapt to Dyche’s demands, having the willingness to put in the hard yards and crucially contribute in the final third.

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.