Everton are still set to release Fabian Delph next summer to further clear their bloated wage bill, despite the midfielder earning Rafa Benitez’s respect, per the Liverpool Echo.

Director of Football Marcel Brands wanted to clear a raft of the deadwood burdening the Goodison Park books this year. But the Dutchman failed to sell Delph, Cenk Tosun or James Rodriguez – the Colombian’s £200k-a-week wage blocking deals with Porto and AC Milan.

The Toffees ideally wanted to save close to £7m-a-year in wages by the end of the market this Tuesday. Parting with high-earners Theo Walcott, Yannick Bolasie and Bernard helped. But they would also welcome moving Rodriguez on to a Portuguese, Turkish or Russia outfit before those windows close. With all major European leagues now unable to do business.

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Everton also initially intended to facilitate an exit for Marco Silva’s £10m signing Delph this summer. Benitez identified the former England international as someone he could make do without, and told the 31-year-old he was free to leave. However, the £80k-p/w midfielder disrupted Brands’ plans by insisting on staying and playing under the Spaniard this term.

Delph’s resistance to leaving saw Benitez award him chances to impress over Everton’s pre-season. And the two-time Premier League winner left a mark, earning his coach’s respect and will now get further games. But the long-term picture remains the Goodison exit door.

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Brands is unlikely to offer Delph, Rodriguez or Tosun new terms, with their Everton deals all expiring next summer. The trio’s exits – if no transfers occur this month or in January – will help to further clear the Toffees’ bloated wage bill, as hoped for in this summer’ market.

Should Everton consider offering Delph a new contract?

Delph’s resistance to leaving Everton this summer has secured him a short-term reprieve under Benitez. But the 20-cap international has a lot more work to do if he is to earn a new contract. And in turn, secure a long-term future at Goodison to rewrite the last two years.

Since joining the Toffees, Delph has suffered with repeated injuries and has only played seven minutes so far this season. A shoulder injury kept him from facing Brighton at the weekend, after also missing the Carabao Cup clash with Huddersfield.

Putting the injuries to bed and performing regularly will be the only way Delph can show Everton he should stay. If not, whatever chances Benitez offers will likely be his last there.

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