Marcel Brands, director of football at Everton, has confirmed that the Toffees made efforts to prise Donny van de Beek away from Manchester United over the summer and may reassess that situation in January.
A talented Netherlands international midfielder continues to struggle for regular game time at Old Trafford, with just five minutes of Premier League action taken in this season.
Rafa Benitez had been hoping to offer the 24-year-old Dutchman a clean slate during the last transfer window, but efforts to do a deal with North West rivals proved problematic.
Brands has told NOS of Everton’s failed bid to land Van de Beek: “We had him on our list.
“At the beginning of the transfer window, we enquired at United, then it was impossible.
“At the end of the window, I received a call from Guido Albers, his agent, that he might be rented out after all. But at the last minute it was cancelled. Stopped again.”
Brands is ruling nothing out, saying when quizzed on whether another move will be made: “You always depend on whether a club wants to cooperate. And it is early October, so much can still happen with injuries. United are playing on various fronts, it’s hard to say now.
“It is of course a pity for Donny. He is a very good player, no doubt about it.
“Such a boy wants to play and wants to return to the Dutch national team. But you know that at such a club the pressure is great and the competition is huge.
“When you see what United had sitting on the bench [against Everton at the weekend]: Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho, Paul Pogba…”