Merseyside Club, Everton are anticipating the return of their Nigerian International striker Henry Onyekuru who is currently on loan at Belgian side Anderlecht, 90minutesgoal.com reports.
Everton who are currently struggling in the English Premier League, signed Onyekuru in June 2017 from Belgian side KAS Eupen for a fee of £7 million after he (Onyekuru) finished as joint top scorer in the Belgian league with 22 goals in the 2016–17 season
However Everton were forced to loan Onyekuru to Anderlecht for a season due to England’s strict law on work permit.
To be issued work permit as a footballer in England, a player must have played about 75% of matches for his National team, a statistic Onyekuru lacked having just made his debut for Nigeria on 1 June 2017 in Nigeria’s 3–0 friendly win over Togo.
Also, the FIFA ranking of a country plays an important role in the issuance of work permit, as seen in the case of Ogenyi Onazi who was denied a work permit to join Birmingham City because Nigeria ranked 54th in the world as at August 2017. Had Nigeria been inside the Top 50 as at June, Onazi would have been considered.
With Everton current precarious position which have seen them lose four out of seven games this season and dropping to the 16th position, Everton may be forced to recall Onyekuru back from loan in January.
A source close to Henry Onyekuru revealed that Everton will recall the 20-year-old forward in Janaury, and also use the “special talent” argument to press for his work permit.
The “special talent” argument is reserved for footballers with special talents as such players are granted work permits even without playing up to 75% of National team matches. The FA believes such talents will bring streams of income and development to the league.
The “special talent” argument helped Super Eagles captain John Obi Mikel when he joined Chelsea in 2006 from Lyn Oslo in Norway and Kelechi Iheanacho when he joined Manchester City in 2015 from Taye Academy located in Imo State.
“Onyekuru may not be at Anderlecht till the end of the season, as his parent club Everton are working towards having him back as they need fire power upfront,” the source revealed to 90minutesgoal.com
Onyekuru has scored five goals in eight games for Anderlecht since joining them.
The month of September was a fruitful month for him as he scored three goals for his club, including a brace against Lokeren in a 3-2 win.