By Noel Whelan

15th Nov, 2021 | 11:31am

Whelan 'wowed' as Everton plot multiple loan-to-buy January signings

Rafa Benitez deserves praise for doing an “amazing” job and multiple January loan-to-buy deals could be another Everton transfer win, according to Noel Whelan.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the Toffees can challenge at the top end of the Premier League upon the injury return of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Abdoulaye Doucoure.

As quoted by the Guardian (November 5th), Benitez conceded that Everton will not have “too much” money to spend in January after talks with sporting director Marcel Brands.

A Goodison source has told Football Insider today that the club are investigating multiple potential loan-to-buy deals in which stars join on an initial loan and then sign permanently at the end of the season.

Everton had an outlay of just £1.8m during Benitez’s first transfer window at the club. The Toffees brought in Demarai Gray, Andros Townsend, Asmir Begovic, and Andy Lonergan during the summer.

Gray and Townsend, who have contributed three league goals and two assists apiece, were singled out for Whelan’s praise.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

“You can’t discount what Benitez has done with this budget, it’s amazing, and I can see loan-to-buys making sense in January,” he told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury.

“What he’s done with Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend, wow, and there could be more amazing deals.

“But I still believe he needs Calvert-Lewin back in that team to really get the best out of them, he will make a huge difference as a focal point up there and really give those wingers something to aim at.

“He’s kept hold of Richarlison, where some might have been tempted by the interest from Barca or PSG.

“When you look at those players there in that squad, there’s enough there. But they need those injured players back, Calvert-Lewin and Doucoure. They will help them challenge up towards the top of the league.”

In other news, pundit predicts Everton fans will love “game-changing” reveal from midfield star.