Everton manager Ronald Koeman has expressed hope that Muhamed Besic could return to training in two months' time. The combative Bosnia and Herzegovina midfielder, who missed significant portions of the 2015-16 campaign due to a recurring hamstring problem, has yet to play a competitive match so far this season after undergoing surgery on a cruciate knee ligament damaged during Wayne Rooney's Manchester United testimonial fixture at Old Trafford.
Besic, a £4m ($5m) recruit from Ferencvaros who signed a new five-and-a-half year deal in February, was ruled out for six months butappears to be on track with his recovery. Aside from fellow long-term injury victim Matthew Pennington, the German-born 24-year-old is the only absentee this weekend as Everton look to arrest an alarming run of only one victory from their last eight Premier League matches against United at Goodison Park.
"We have only one of the squad [injured] and that's Mo Besic," Koeman told reporters during a pre-match press conference held at Finch Farm on Friday (2 December).
"It's going well with Mo, he's maybe back in training with the team in the beginning of February. That looks very positive. The rest is fit and that's good because we need everybody. It's tough to make the decisions but that's really what we like."
James McCarthy is also available to face Jose Mourinho's side after missing the 1-0 defeat at Southampton with a hamstring issue. Fresh rumours have begun to circulate regarding a possible January transfer for a player who has made only four top-flight appearances so far this term amid persistent injury trouble and an ugly club versus country row, although Koeman is unsure as to his motivations ahead of the January transfer window.
"I don't know. I did not speak with James about his situation. Of course I spoke about his situation because [for] a long time he wasn't available for the team. Even last week, he had only two training sessions. This week, yes he did all the training sessions and he's available for the weekend. But about the future of James, other players and news players, that's not the focus that I need to show at this moment."