By Jack Cunningham

15th Jul, 2021 | 2:08pm

Everton set to lose Niels Nkounkou to France's Olympic squad

Everton are set to be without 20-year-old left-back Niels Nkounkou for most of pre-season and possibly the start of the 2021-22 Premier League campaign as he is set to be called up by France for their Olympic squad, according to a report from The Athletic.

They claim that Nkounkou is “expected” to be called up because of injuries and that the Toffees have “agreed” to release the Frenchman because they expect Lucas Digne to have recovered from an injury he picked up during the Euros.

This is a big opportunity for Nkounkou, but if Digne doesn’t recover in time, it could leave Everton short at left-back going into the new season.

Will the Toffees miss Nkounkou?

Even if Digne does recover and comes back when he is expected to, Everton might have to use the inexperienced Thierry Small at left-back in some of their pre-season games.

However, there is a problem there as well because Small has been missing from pre-season training in an attempt to force his way out of Goodison Park [The Athletic].

Nkounkou has been described as a “magnificent find” in the past by Stephen Warnock on his own personal Twitter page and is highly regarded by those within the club [Liverpool Echo].

So, this is a fantastic opportunity for Nkounkou, and it is great that Everton have given him the opportunity to represent his country at the Olympics, but it could leave the Toffees short if Digne doesn’t recover in time.

So this is potentially a huge risk on Everton’s part, but hopefully, everything will work out well, and Nkounkou plays for his country, and Digne recovers and returns to training when he is expected to.

In other Everton news, one talkSPORT pundit has made his prediction on Benitez and the transfer market.

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