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Niels Nkounkou 18

Everton announced the acquisition of Niels Nkounkou, a 19-year-old left back who arrived from Marseille for a nominal development fee, in early July 2020.

Though he not yet made his senior debut, the player reportedly turned down a professional contract with the Ligue 1 club and was reportedly tipped to join Juventus in the summer.

Everton stepped in, however, and added him to their Under-23 squad where he joined compatriots Lucas Digne and, briefly, Djibril Sidibé at Finch Farm after signing a three-year deal.

"Niels is a young, talented player with good technical and physical skills," said Director of Football, Marcel Brands, of the teenager who can also operate in midfield. "We have been following him for months.

"Hopefully he can learn a lot from Lucas Digne and Leighton Baines, as well as Carlo Ancelotti and David Unsworth, and follow the same pathway into the first team the likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Mason Holgate have taken in recent years."  

The belief was that he had the physical attributes to thrive in the Premier League – a combination of pace and power befitting the profile of a modern left-back who is also strong in one-v-one defensive situations. 

Unsworth, having seen the player up close for the first time in training at Finch Farm, spoke of a "great athlete but with a lot of things to work on". Nkounkou was expected to develop, first with the Under-23s and then under Ancelotti, both from a tactical point of view and learning how to play the position at the top level. As such, it was anticipated that Nkounkou would spend most of the 2020-21 season playing for the U23s but his first two senior appearances suggested that his development might be further along than initially thought.

He earned the man-of-the-match accolade on his debut against Salford City in the League Cup and repeated the feat in the next round at Fleetwood Town where he again caught the eye with his marauding runs down the left. He capped that second game with cheeky back-heeled assist for Moise Kean in a 5-2 win.

FactFile

Squad number 18
Position Left Back
Nationality French
Born Pontoise
Date of birth 1 November 2000
Height 5' 11" (1.80 m)
Joined 2 July 2020
Joined from Free agent
Signed under Carlo Ancelotti
Transfer fee £250,000
Contract duration 3 years
Contract expires June 2020
Full debut v Salford City (H)
16 September 2020
Previous Clubs Marseille
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Everton Career

Season Squad Number League Apps (sub) League Goals Cup Apps (sub) Cup Goals Total Apps (sub) Total Goals
2020-21 18 1 (0) 0 3 (0) 0 4 (0) 0
  Totals 1 (0) 0 3 (0) 0 4 (0) 0


Previous Career

Season Team Appearances (sub) Goals
2018-19 Marseille 0 (0) 0


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