Noel Whelan admits his heart bleeds for Yannick Bolasie after his prospective loan from Everton to Middlesbrough collapsed on deadline day.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Leeds and Boro forward insists the winger must be “gutted” to see a “fantastic” opportunity fall through at the last minute.

The 31-year-old revealed on his personal Twitter account that the proposed deal had not been completed in time and that he would not be moving to the Riverside.

As revealed by Football Insider on deadline day, all the necessary paperwork had been submitted after Boro saw off competition from Blackburn Rovers and Millwall for his capture.

Whelan admits Bolasie has been dealt a sucker punch and that he hopes a move can be sorted in January.

Whelan told Football Insider: “He was desperate for that move – he was willing to take wage cuts and everything to try and push that move through.

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“He’s been in the wilderness and out of the picture for so long now that this was a real good opportunity to go to a fantastic football club and get that football he desperately needed.

“He could have linked up there with good strikers that Middlesbrough already have. That would have been a really strong, powerful front three with Bolasie, Fletcher, Assombalonga.

“It would have been a fantastic move and he must be gutted. Maybe, hopefully he’s got that opportunity in January but what you just don’t want is any more setbacks during this time.”

Bolasie, who suffered a serious cruciate ligament injury in 2016, has not played for Everton since the final day of the 2017/18 campaign.

He has spent time out on loan with Aston Villa, Anderlecht and Sporting CP in recent seasons.

In other Everton news, Football Insider can reveal the Toffees were plotting a late Championship raid.