Everton starlet Henry Onyekuru cannot return to his parent club in January because there is no "break clause" in his loan deal with Anderlecht, according to an intermediary of the Nigerian forward.
Ronald Koeman's side beat off competition from the likes of Arsenal and West Ham United to sign Onyekuru from KAS Eupen for around £6.8m (€7.6m) in the summer transfer window before immediately farming him out on loan to Belgium due to work permit issues.
With Everton sorely lacking in the striking department and Onyekuru going from strength-to-strength with the Belgian giants, there were suggestions that the Toffees were preparing to cut his loan short in the winter transfer window.
But any possibility of an early return to Everton seems to have been quashed by a spokesperson for Onyekuru, who still doesn't qualify for a work permit.
"It's unfortunate that he can't join Everton until the summer, as there is no break clause in his loan deal and aside from that he has not qualified for a work permit yet", a representative of Onyekuru told Owngoalnigeria.com.
"The plan for now is still the same like in the summer, which is spend a season on loan before returning back to Everton next summer to fight for a shirt in the team."
Despite a summer of lavish spending Everton's forward options remain rather scarce, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Oumar Niasse seen as the only recognised strikers. Wayne Rooney has been deployed as a lone striker on a few occasions this season but he is at his best when deployed behind the striker, while fellow new signing Sandro Ramirez is struggling to cope with the rigours of the Premier League and was not included in the squad that drew with Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday (15 October).
The lack of a quality hitman has predictably blunted Everton's incohesive attack, and manager Ronald Koeman will have to swiftly find a solution to his side's attacking woes if he wishes to save the Merseysiders' Europa League campaign against Lyon on Thursday – and perhaps his job.