The Everton squad returned for pre-season training on Monday but were missing one familiar face.
Luke Garbutt joined Oxford United on loan for the season on Monday evening and will join up with Karl Robinson’s squad in Ireland.
Garbutt, 25, spent last term with Everton’s Under-23s despite calls for him to be called up to the first-team with Leighton Baines sidelined.
He was eventually added to the Blues’ updated Premier League squad list in January but only made the matchday squad once - coming as an unused substitute in the 1-0 defeat away at Watford.
The left-back has failed to kick on at Everton since joining from Leeds United in 2009.
There always been great hope that Garbutt would be the eventual successor for Baines and that hope was only added to whenever he started for the Blues under former boss Roberto Martinez.
However, since that spell, the 25-year-old has bounced around the lower leagues on loan - including stints with Fulham and Wigan Athletic.
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Clearing the deck
Garbutt’s departure, albeit temporarily for now, clears the way for Everton to add to their squad at left-back.
The Blues are in the market to find a long-overdue replacement for Baines, with the senior full-back beginning to wain in his powers.
Celtic’s Kieran Tierney is the main target, with Everton poised to make an initial bid once they are able to make contact with the Scottish giants and find out what their asking price for their prized asset is.
Everton do already have a number of left-backs in their own Academy ranks, and including the impressive youngster Antonee Robinson.
Robinson, an English-born American international, enjoyed a spell on loan with Bolton Wanderers last season and caught the eye with his performances for The Trotters.
Whilst the hope is that he has a first-team future, the belief stands that he may need another spell on loan first before making the huge step up to the Premier League level.