Former Everton defender Joseph Yobo has admitted that he regrets how his compatriot Henry Onyekuru won’t get the opportunity to shine on Merseyside.

The Nigerian winger completed a move to Monaco yesterday for a fee believed to be in the region of £12.5million, having failed to acquire a UK work permit for the second summer in a row.

The 22-year old was considered a bright prospect when Everton signing him in the summer of 2017, but two years later he departs without having pulled on the shirt for the Blues, having joined Anderlecht and Galatasaray on separate loan moves.

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Yobo, who was signed as David Moyes’ first Everton signing in 2002, spoke to Goal about Onyekuru, lamenting that the young winger would miss the chance to play for the Toffees. As reported by Liverpool Echo, Yobo said:

He is a fantastic talent and I would have loved to see his deal [with Everton] go through but work permit restricted him from playing in the Premier League.

But he has shown what he’s got at Galatasaray, very exciting to watch and he can score goals as well. I was happy seeing him play for Nigeria national team but he didn’t get that chance to play for Everton because he didn’t play more international games to give him the right.

For me as an Evertonian, I feel he is a good prospect and would have been a great talent for Everton.

He did very well at Galatasaray and was one of the fans’ favourites and if he had his way, he would have stayed to continue his progress but then, the club wanted to do a different business which was against his wish.

Monaco is a good team but haven’t done well in the past few years. Everything is now new for Henry to prove himself again.

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It’s always great hearing Yobo still call himself an Evertonian, despite the manner in which his career on Merseyside ended. Yobo is right in that it is a shame to see Onyekuru leave without being given the opportunity to impress, particularly given that the club beat out tough opposition to his signature in the first place.

It raises questions about the UK work permit scheme, with many fans online having questioned why he was able to secure the right to work in France by not in the UK. It is a shame, but the positive element of it is that it will give other promising players the chance to impress.

Have Everton lost a major talent in selling Henry Onyekuru?