Henry Onyekuru is currently expected to serve out the second half of the 2-year loan deal Everton agreed with RSC Anderlecht despite harsh words after the player missed out on Russia 2018 with Nigeria.
Henry suffered a serious knee injury playing against his old club Eupen, with initial fears that he would require surgery and miss the rest of the season. He returned to Finch Farm for treatment and scans ultimately showed that he would not need an operation but it created uncertainty over his future, both in terms of qualifying for the Nigerian World Cup squad, and gaining enough international appearances to justify a work permit that would allow him to play for Everton in the Premier League in 2018-19.
He had regained his fitness by late April 2018 but didn't make another start for Anderlecht for the remainder of the season. He was duly left out of Nigeria's team for Russia 2018, with some in his native Nigeria speculating that the Belgian club have withheld him from the team on purpose so that he would not be picked and could return to them for another loan the following season.
Anderlecht's hierarchy rejected the insinuation, with Vanhaezebrouck insisting it wasn't Anderlecht's fault that Henry would miss the World Cup. "Everyone sees that he is not ready to play — he is afraid of the duels — and then I cannot pick him to please him. By the way, Henry still has a lot to prove with the national team. He was not a fixed value before his injury either, hey?"
Although Anderlecht had successfully negotiated an agreement with Everton to take him for the 2018-19 season, the player and his representatives were reportedly exploring other opportunities, with Borussia Moenchengladbach a mooted possibility.
Onyekuru's work permit requirements continue to prevent him playing for Everton. A player can secure a work permit through playing the required number of competitive international matches for their country in the two years before the application was made. The exact figure on this varies given where the player's home country stand in FIFA's official rankings — with a player sometimes only needing to appear in 30% of international games.
However, to qualify for a UK work permit, Onyekuru would have needed to appear in 75% of Nigeria's competitive fixtures over the last two years, given their FIFA World ranking of 47. Onyekuru has only ever made two appearances for Nigeria, which falls way short of the amount required.
An alternate pathway to playing in the Premier League could open up for Onyekuru in 2019, however, when he will qualify to apply for a Belgian passport, giving him entry to the UK marketplace — Brexit notwithstanding!
Reader Comments (25)
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1 Posted 01/07/2018 at 16:53:53
2 Posted 01/07/2018 at 17:06:20
3 Posted 01/07/2018 at 17:11:37
4 Posted 01/07/2018 at 17:48:04
5 Posted 01/07/2018 at 17:50:12
6 Posted 01/07/2018 at 18:36:07
7 Posted 01/07/2018 at 18:38:09
8 Posted 01/07/2018 at 18:50:20
9 Posted 01/07/2018 at 18:56:17
10 Posted 01/07/2018 at 19:17:39
I was expecting this, as Henry spent a year in Belgium before we signed him, last season at Anderlecht makes two, and this coming season makes three. He can then apply for Belgian citizenship and enter the UK (under current freedom of movement of worker's rules). As to where we (UK and also Everton) will be in 12 months time, we will have to way and see.
11 Posted 01/07/2018 at 20:54:11
12 Posted 01/07/2018 at 21:07:35
13 Posted 01/07/2018 at 21:13:16
Alan, we were trying to be clever and secure a top young talent who we hoped would get enough caps to come across this summer. Injury and Anderlecht put paid to that, not to mention he might not be good enough yet.
14 Posted 01/07/2018 at 21:52:09
15 Posted 01/07/2018 at 21:58:47
16 Posted 01/07/2018 at 22:00:30
17 Posted 01/07/2018 at 22:39:34
Only part in the OP concerned me was this from his manager speaking plain, "he is not ready to play — he is afraid of the duels."
Re-looking at that 10-minute YouTube of Henry, "afraid of the duels" is the last way I'd describe him. I'd describe him as reckless in the attack; sprinting past someone or in traffic.
So get yourself back to health and recklessness, youngster. Looking forward to your arrival in 2019-2020.
18 Posted 01/07/2018 at 22:55:07
19 Posted 01/07/2018 at 23:05:14
Regarding Alan Ball, I think he was "nailed on" for a move to Leeds when Catterick ambushed the deal and brought him to Goodison
20 Posted 02/07/2018 at 11:20:17
21 Posted 02/07/2018 at 11:34:32
22 Posted 02/07/2018 at 11:55:48
The government may well make a special case for football, but there's been zero talk of it, so I don't know how you jump to that assumption so easily. Brexit is a major threat to the Premier League, we'll just have to wait to see if we make any concessions on freedom of movement of workers.
24 Posted 03/07/2018 at 03:04:48
If he plays well, big teams will buy him from us.
If he struggles, then we will be stuck with him for 3 more years.
25 Posted 03/07/2018 at 03:22:05
If he grows up and plays well, he'll either be ready to play for us or big teams will buy him from us.
If he struggles, he's only 21 and still has time to get it together. And his explosive talent is still ours for 3 more years at a cost of only £7 million.
26 Posted 03/07/2018 at 08:46:11
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