Everton are planning to strengthen their backline and have already taken a step in that direction with the acquisition of James Tarkowski, only the announcement remains. It appears that left back is also an area that Everton are looking to reinforce and AZ Alkmaar left back Owen Wijndal is a player being considered.
Everton signed Vitaliy Mykolenko in January 2022 as then-manager Rafa Benitez had run into problems with Lucas Digne and had frozen him out of the team. Digne’s fate was decided and he was sold to Aston Villa. Soon after his departure, the man responsible for Frenchman’s departure was sacked.
Mykolenko has for sure eased the initial worries and swiftly slotted into the role, putting in a brilliant shift towards the business end of the season, playing an important role in Everton’s relegation survival.
Last season, the Toffees were without a backup left back. Players like Ben Godfrey, Jonjoe Kenny and Fabian Delph could slot into the role if required but the absence of a traditional, natural left back meant that there was always the risk of not having a left back in the team if Mykolenko was unavailable or injured.
Everton eyeing Owen Wijndal hints at the short term future of Niels Nkounkou
Niels Nkounkou was sent out on loan to Standard Liege. The 21 year old returned after acquiring much needed minutes for his development. Nkounkou could serve as a backup to Mykolenko next season but transfer links to Wijndal suggest otherwise.
According to Dutch media outlet De Telegraaf (via Sport Witness), Wijndal is being followed by a number of clubs. Ajax have sufficient cash after their sale of Ryan Gravenberchand will make more money through the sale of Sebastien Haller allowing them to bring new players in full back positions. The Dutch club are aware that a fee around £8.6 million will be enough to lock a deal with AZ Alkmaar.
Everton, Napoli and Sevilla are have also shown concrete interest in the 22 year old. Wijndal’s agent will earn a big commission if a move away from the Netherlands is secured but his agent is willing to let go of the big pay check so that his client can join Ajax. However, the Dutch giants need to act fast.
On the other hand, Everton’s interest in Wijndal hints at Nkounkou’s future. If Wijndal arrives at Goodison Park, he will not displace Mykolenko from the starting role. This means that Nkounkou is either ready to be sent out on loan again or play for the U-23 side. Nkounkou is still a work in progress and a loan move to a Premier League club or a Championship club will benefit him.
Wijndal’s market value is around £10 million and AZ are expecting around £8.6 million which will be a bargain fee. The Dutchman ticks all the boxes that Everton are looking for. He’s young, mouldable and most importantly will have resale value.
Will the Toffees sign Owen Wijndal?