According to Liverpool Echo, Matthew Pennington could leave Everton this summer, with a host of Championship clubs interested in his services. Wigan Athletic are believed to be one of the clubs keen on Pennington along with Derby County.
The Rams reportedly tried to sign the defender in January, but the move was blocked by Ipswich Town. But, they could once again make a move this summer as Frank Lampard looks to bolster his side’s defences.
Pennington’s career at Everton so far
A member of the Everton youth academy, Pennington first been a part of the first-team in 2016. But, the Toffees’ depth in the defensive department meant he had to spend three consecutive campaigns on loan to lower division clubs, including Leeds United, Walsall and Ipswich Town.
He was on loan to Ipswich in the recently concluded Championship season. The 24-year-old was a mainstay in the backline, having made 30 league appearances. But, his progress was marred an ankle injury at the end of March that ruled him for the rest of the campaign as the Tractor Boys finished bottom of the league table.
In general, however, Pennington was one of the few bright sparks in an otherwise dire campaign for Ipswich. And the 24-year-old is showing signs that he could thrive in a higher level of football.
Should Everton keep hold of Pennington this summer?
What makes such an interesting defensive option for the Toffees is his commitment. Pennington has excellent concentration and discipline – two things that are paramount in Marco Silva’s footballing philosophy.
He also stands out in terms of decision-making and tackling, having completed 1.7 tackles per game this season. His biggest asset, however, is his ability to read the game, which is coupled with his positional sense. Indeed, the 24-year-old has averaged a whopping 2.7 interceptions per game – a tally matched only by Birmingham City’s Kristian Pederson this past season.
As far as Everton are concerned, keeping hold of Pennington would actually be a good idea. The Toffees are unlikely to secure the permanent signing of Kurt Zouma, due to Chelsea’s transfer ban. And given Yerry Mina’s struggles with both form and injury, Michael Keane remains the only reliable defensive option for Silva next season.
Pennington, therefore, will provide the Portuguese mastermind with additional depth in the defensive department. And this could be useful in a long, strenuous schedule of English football, thus making the 24-year-old potentially a valuable component for Everton in the upcoming season.