By George Overhill
Malik Mothersille’s decision not to complete a permanent move to Everton despite a spell on trial at the club is the latest blow for the struggling Toffees and manager Sean Dyche.
The Goodison manager is already trying to navigate his way out of a hole after three straight defeats to start the season without scoring a goal, but saw his side at least get on the board with a 2-2 draw at Sheffield United on Saturday (2 September).
That point was only secured by a stunning double-save by Jordan Pickford deep into injury time, and came 24 hours after a confusing transfer deadline day which saw all of Alex Iwobi, Neal Maupay and Tom Cannon leave the club without any replacements sourced, and the news emerge that young forward Mothersile wasn’t expected to sign.
We love a young Striker joining our club who has lots of potential to develop with our first team. Delighted to announce transfer of Malik Mothersille on permanent transfer from @ChelseaFC on a long term deal. Welcome to @theposh Malik. We felt it best with all bedlam happening…
The 19-year-old has since signed for League One Peterborough United after chairman Darragh MacAnthony revealed news of the “transfer” on Twitter Saturday.
The former Chelsea player had signed trial forms just over a fortnight earlier “in view of signing him on a permanent basis” The Athletic had reported on 14 August.
But after making appearances for the Everton under-21s against Liverpool, Middlesbrough and Brighton the “highly rated” talent decided the Toffees weren’t for him and has opted to pursue first-team football two rungs down the pyramid.
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Mothersille’s exact reasons will be known only to him and those closest to him, but it is not a good sign for a talented young player to agree to a trial, at which point The Athletic reported “optimism” proper deal would be reached, only to back out in less than three weeks.
Dyche is facing renewed pressure as Demarai Gray appeared to directly criticise him on Instagram in the wake of his failed move to Saudi Arabia [BBC Sport, 3 September] and while the manager is clearly far from the root of the issues at Goodison Park he is arguably in the spotlight to a greater degree than at any point since he arrived in January.
Despite a thin squad and struggles in the transfer market, his apparent disinterest Everton youngsters has become apparent, with the likes of Ellis Simms, Ishe Samuels-Smith, and Cannon all sold for relatively small fees this summer.
Mothersille’s decision to head for Peterborough instead of remain on Merseyside means the teenager can be added to the list of a young talent who won’t be part of the solution with the Toffees.
Dyche came in to rescue a sinking ship last season and ultimately did his job, while there are plenty of problems that are beyond his control, but Mothersille deciding against staying is emblematic of a situation that the manager needs to find a way through urgently.
In other Everton news, an “incredibly brave” Toffees ace stunned one pundit with the sacrifice he made at the weekend.
By George Overhill