Everton manager Sam Allardyce is willing to hand defender Luke Garbutt an opportunity to revive his career on Merseyside so long as he proves that he has the "desire and determination" to fight for a first-team spot at Goodison Park, after learning of Crystal Palace defender Patrick van Aanholt's reluctance to move.
Many identified Garbutt as the heir apparent to the ageing Leighton Baines when he showed great promise under Roberto Martinez a few seasons ago, but an unsuccessful loan spell at Fulham saw his career stall to the point where he is now plying his trade for the Toffees' Under-23 squad at the age of 24.
Garbutt was not included in Everton's Premier League squad at the start of the season by former manager Ronald Koeman, who saw fit to go into the first half of the campaign with Baines as his only specialist left-back, but former England boss Allardyce is keen to assess the former Leeds United youth star, along with the rest of the players in and around the first-team set-up at Goodison, before the end of the month.
"On my understanding he wasn't included in the 25 man squad at the start of the season, he hasn't been training with us for that period," Allardyce told the Liverpool Echo.
My first assessment of the team has to be of that first 25 players selected in that squad and trying to get down to all the other professionals at the club.
"So that process is still ongoing because of all the games we've played over Christmas. We have until the end of January to look at players who haven't been named in that squad and find whether they have the desire or determination to show myself and the coaching staff that they are, one, willing to fight to get in the squad and, two, maybe for a chance in the first-team."
Allardyce's willingness to hand Garbutt a lifeline was made even clearer by Everton chairman Bill Kenwright, who revealed that the former Colchester United and Cheltenham Town loanee quickly entered his thoughts when he took over from interim boss David Unsworth.
"Within days of Sam arriving at the club he said: 'I've got to have time to assess Luke Garbutt. So he is definitely in his mind," said Kenwright.
Allardyce quickly identified the need to draft a new left-back into his first-team squad at Everton and was perhaps inevitably linked with a move for Crystal Palace defender Patrick van Aanholt, whom he signed when manager of the Eagles and worked with at Sunderland.
Allardyce sanctioned an outlay of around £14m ($18.9m) to bring Van Aanholt to Selhurst Park in January 2017, but the former Chelsea youth star, whose season has been beset by injuries, took to social media to confirm that he will not be leaving Roy Hodgson's men this month.
Asked about the possibility of an exit from Palace, Van Aanholt tweeted: "Lol don't worry, I'm very happy at Palace I ain't going anywhere."