Niels Nkounkou beginning to shine in the Championship

11/10/2022 20comments  |  Jump to last

Since joining Cardiff City on loan from Everton in the summer transfer window, Niels Nkounkou has seemed to take some time to adapt to life in The Championship, but it seems he is finally finding his feet in South Wales.

He was awarded Man of the Match in his most recent fixture against Wigan Athletic, providing a splendid assist for Callum Robinson to put The Bluebirds 1-0 up within 7 minutes. His side would go on to win the match 3-1, with Niels the obvious stand-out.

» Read the full article at Vital Everton

Reader Comments (20)

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Brian Murray
1 Posted 11/10/2022 at 13:11:39
I would say at the moment he's probably more effective than Gordon and McNeil.
Rob Dolby
2 Posted 11/10/2022 at 16:20:43
I watched highlights of this game and, whilst he looked sharp going forwards, his defensive play is terrible.

If he has any future in the top flight, it will be as a winger and not a full-back. I am not saying he is Gareth Bale but he certainly isn't a defender.

Brian Cleveland
3 Posted 11/10/2022 at 16:50:03
Rob, I remember thinking that of Seamus initially. Then he got injured and when he came back he looked like he'd been on a course in how to defend whilst out.

The lad is still young, perhaps with experience he'll learn.

Mike Gaynes
4 Posted 11/10/2022 at 17:08:05
Brian #3, Seamus had an intensive course of study at the University of Moyes, which was the key to his eventual command of defensive fundamentals.

Seems like Niels would benefit from a summer semester at Cole College. If Ashley could teach him to harness all that speed and be more aware of his positioning, he might yet be a Premier League defender.

Robert Tressell
5 Posted 11/10/2022 at 17:21:58
The most likely scenario with Nkounkou (probably like Simms) is that he falls just short and is sold for decent money. Any U22 player showing real promise in the Championship is worth between £5m and £20m.

If he does make the grade, then great, he can save us having to spend £7m ish on Vinagre as back-up to Mykolenko –although he really would have to make strides defensively for this to happen.

Seems sensible to have 2 or 3 players of this type on the books or out on loan from time to time because they are cheap but can make money and one or two make the grade.

Paul Kernot
6 Posted 11/10/2022 at 20:04:35
Chelsea have provided the model haven't they? Way ahead of us financially of course but they've had young players on loan by the dozen for years now, several of whom are currently in their top squad, others sold for good money.
David West
7 Posted 11/10/2022 at 22:47:06
This is how academies are funded. For every Gordon who makes the first team, there 10 others who may just need that experience, or are never going to make it at this level and need to show themselves competitively at their level, be it Championship, League One, Scotland etc.

If some are deemed not good enough, then £5M or £10M for the likes of Broadhead, Nkounkou, maybe Simms if he doesn't cut it. That's potentially £20M. It funds the academy and provides some extra.

I feel we keep some youth players too long; they go on loan, do well, not necessarily well enough to get in the first-team but, instead of cashing in, we loan again and again. Then the players lose the will and their peak value.

Let's Hope for a change in approach. Who knows what Thelwell could do with that?

Dupont Koo
8 Posted 13/10/2022 at 00:56:32
David W,

You are spot on with us previously over-paying a lot of youngsters who were not up to par and the club did not flog them for decent fees before their release on free transfers. Matthew Pennington and Joe Williams were the cautionary tales:

A combination of Bobby Brown Shoes & Rhino over-hyping Pennington up too early and gave him an entry-level Premier League Salary before he had shown himself a dependable Football League Player. With a lack of solid track record and playing time (as well as an injury record rivalling Yerry Mina's), Football League clubs were hesitant and/or unable to take on his full salary for season-long loans. Most of the money on the last 3 seasons of his contracts were on our books despite him heading out for loans at Ipswich, Hull & Shrewsbury before his eventual release. That is not money well spent.

Joe Williams's case was a lesser horror but he left us on a free transfer to Wigan before being sold to Bristol City for £1.2M after 12 months. What Thelwell has been doing should ensure Everton getting that £1.2M instead of other clubs in the future.

Kieran Kinsella
9 Posted 13/10/2022 at 04:26:44

Over-hyping is the theme of Unsie. I can't even remember the guy's name but there was a 21-year-old fellow a few years back who'd done nothing for the Under-23s and as his contract expired, Unsie was saying he could be anything he wanted to be but it was up to him to prove himself in that last month or so and obviously he didn't as I can't even remember his name.

Then there was Beningame – “the next first team graduate” according to Unsie. And so on and so forth with Astley, Walsh etc. People give Roberto Martinez shit over hyperbole but Unsie was way worse.

But despite him being gone we still seem to have the same issue. Joe Anderson — not the mayor — age 22, not a star for the academy, never in the first team, but given a new deal. Okay, maybe he's on peanuts and stayed to give some experience to the U21s...

Then you get Davies, Holgate etc and the minute they start a game for us, they're offered new deals paying them more than many fans make in a year. Yes of course we waste even more money on “established” players but these ridiculous deals for mediocre kids don't come cheap.

Peter Gorman
10 Posted 13/10/2022 at 08:13:54
Thanks a bunch, Kieran – the identity of that mystery player is going to bug me for the rest of the day.

I remember reading the same hyperbole from Unsworth and it striking me as very odd – I think the kid may have even been coming back from a long-term injury so there was nothing really to base the assessment on.

I'll uncover the name if it kills me.

Michael Kenrick
11 Posted 13/10/2022 at 09:54:50
Joe Williams... wow, he was pretty highly rated for a while. Have to admit I'd just about completely forgotten him! Thanks for bringing him up as I found his profile page was a mess and needed considerable attention.

Another one ravaged by injuries, and destined for a stop-start career in the Championship. We reported he joined Wigan for an undisclosed fee (rather than a free transfer) in July 2019 but it was probably a lot less than the £1M we turned down from Barnsley when they wanted to make his loan deal permanent back in January 2018.

He only spent 1 year of his 3-year contract at Wigan before switching to Bristol City, where he seems to be doing okay despite hardly playing a game throughout the whole of the 2020-21 season. There are just so many young players we churn through – sad… but it's the nature of the game.

Michael Kenrick
12 Posted 13/10/2022 at 10:11:02
Kieran mentioned in a similar post back in June that it might have been Manasse Mampala who Unsworth was talking up in such glowing terms.

After being released in June 2020, it looks like he went on to have somewhat non-stellar spells with QPR, Carlisle Utd, Weymouth, and now Hyde Utd. It must be a hard life for many of them.

Joe McMahon
13 Posted 13/10/2022 at 11:19:16
Brian @1,

A bit harsh on McNeil, he scores a well-taken winning goal in the Premier League and is then dropped. We haven't seen enough of him to come to such conclusions.

Dave Abrahams
14 Posted 13/10/2022 at 11:40:09
In that article about Nkounkou,it states that Everton paid around £3M for him, from my recollection it was a lot less than that, something like £200k.

Peter (10), does the name Feeney ring a bell? I can't remember his first name, a centre-back, I think he might have come on as a sub against Atalanta in a Europa League game at Goodison, just a thought.

Michael Kenrick
15 Posted 13/10/2022 at 15:11:54
Good memory, Dave.

We have his transfer fee down as £250k and refer it as being a "nominal development fee", but the article says it was £3M in compensation (ie, a development fee) because he was under 21.

Transfermarkt says €270k. I think I'll stop there.

As for Part 2 of your post, that would be Morgan Feeney, who is still with Carlisle Utd in League Two.

Peter Gorman
16 Posted 13/10/2022 at 15:16:53
Dave - that'd be young Morgan Feeney, he played more than once for us I think, but not more than a handful of European games. I was a bit surprised he was released when he was, he could easily have stayed in our reserves until he was 26, like Pennington.

I think Michael has got it with Mampala (I was thinking it could have been another forward like Adedoyin but Mampala fits the bill) though where and when Unsworth made that comment still eludes me, but we can't all have imagined it unless Kieran has been gaslighting us for the past couple of years.

You wouldn't do that, would you, Kieran?

Kieran Kinsella
17 Posted 13/10/2022 at 16:09:45

Haha — never.

Michael is right, it was Mampala I was thinking of.

Adedoyin was a weird one as he more seemed to hype himself. I never heard of him until he wanted to go out on loan. Wasn't it Hamilton Academical?

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
18 Posted 15/10/2022 at 13:44:36
From these reports, it looks like we have the next Trent Alexander-Arnold on our books.
Brian Murray
19 Posted 15/10/2022 at 13:59:50
Been banging the drum for this lad not so much as a defender but he certainly has something.
Phill Thompson
20 Posted 16/10/2022 at 13:22:08
It's difficult to judge Nkounkou's attacking ability in that his best bits have been when he marauds forward from the back unexpectedly, heading for the gaps, catching the opposition by surprise with no-one marking him.

Thierry Small was the same. When they start further up the pitch they are usually more closely marked and don't fare so well as the element of surprise has gone.

It's great that he's getting regular game time in the Championship, he's the type of player that we need to convert into a regular squad player and not let slip. With Baines and Cole around I still think we can turn him into a decent, attacking left-back.

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