Everton confirmed on Thursday that they’ve signed Niels Nkounkou on a free transfer and are hoping he’ll eventually progress from the youth ranks to the first-team. Marcel Brands said that the 19-year-old will learn from Lucas Digne and Leighton Baines to eventually challenge for a starting place at left-back, but he still has a lot of developing to do.
The Frenchman made the matchday squad on two occasions – Marseille’s 2-0 win over Racing Strasbourg (October 20, 2019) and Marseille’s Coup de France defeat to Olympique Lyonnais (February 12, 2020), but he failed to be introduced from the bench.
He’ll have to work hard at Everton to stand a chance of dethroning Digne and Baines (if he stays), given Luke Garbutt and Matty Foulds weren’t deemed worthy of retaining this summer, but Nkounkou is highly-rated and has been on the Toffees’ radar for some time.
The 19-year-old has represented the French national team at U18 (one game) and U19 (two games) level too, so there’s a lot of evidence suggesting he has great potential.