Everton could sell academy product Beni Baningime this summer after receiving an offer from Scottish Premiership side Hearts for a permanent transfer, per the Liverpool Echo.
The Toffees must decide Baningime’s future at Goodison Park after he entered the final year of his contract. The 22-year-old joined the club at the age of nine and made his senior debut under David Unsworth in 2017.
But chances to progress in the first-team were limited under Sam Allardyce, Marco Silva and Carlo Ancelotti. And Rafa Benitez has now left the midfielder out of his plans after taking charge at Goodison Park. Baningime will not feature in the Blues’ tour of the US.
Benitez’s snub may be the final straw for Baningime’s chances at Everton after Hearts made the Toffees an offer. The Scottish Premiership side, who have hired Steven Naismith as their Football Development Manager, hope to strike a permanent deal.
Baningime only featured in Everton’s U23s last season before joining Wayne Rooney’s Derby County on loan in January. But like on Merseyside, he failed to make the grade with only two Championship appearances, with the last in March.
Rooney also omitted Baningime from nine of his matchday squads as the Rams fought for their second-tier survival. Seemingly feeling the same way about the midfielder’s impact as Ancelotti had, with the Italian only naming him on the bench eight times during his tenure.
Everton must sell Baningime this summer amid Hearts interest
Everton must look to sell Baningime this summer amid interest from Hearts, even if Scotland will not be his destination. The DR Congo native has not made a first-team outing for the Toffees since 2018 under Allardyce, and has already been passed on by Benitez.
The new Blues boss worked with Baningime in training before Everton flew to the US for their pre-season tour. But the Spaniard clearly did not like what he saw from the £8,000-per-week midfielder.
Now, Baningime faces another year in the Everton wilderness until he’s a free agent next summer. And after struggling at Derby, where assistant manager Liam Rosenior lauded him for being ‘outstanding in training’, via Derbyshire Live, he’s surely itching to prove himself.