It proved to be a long but ultimately fruitful weekend for Everton’s recruitment team.
A day of drama, replete with reports of a prospective late hijacking from Aston Villa, ended in the early hours of Monday morning with Jack Harrison an Everton player.
There had been some concerns over late interest from Villa, but shortly after midnight confirmation came that they had their man on a season-long loan deal.
Those close to the Midlands club claimed they had pulled their interest due to concerns over his hip injury, which has been expected to keep him on the sidelines until after the September international break. The surprise there was that a return to action next month has long been viewed as a realistic aim. If all goes well, he will soon be back on the grass to begin the next part of his rehab.
Everton’s pursuit of another Leeds player, Wilfried Gnonto, had provided another interesting sub-context to talks. The Italian’s situation has been disruptive, with the Elland Road club issuing a statement on Friday confirming the Italian had asked to leave this window but would not be allowed to do so.
But here a deal was more easily struck, thanks in large part to a clause in Harrison’s contract allowing him to depart for free on loan in the event of their relegation. He spent much of Sunday with Everton’s recruitment team, his commitment described then as unwavering despite suggestions elsewhere of a change of heart.
Official confirmation of the move came on Monday morning via a short statement, hastily released without the usual quotes and photos in an attempt to dispel some of the weekend’s more egregious rumours. By that stage already an Everton player, Harrison undertook his media duties later the same day, neatly bringing to a