Everton defender Cuco Martina is closing in on a return from injury, but could let his contract run down rather than leave in January, according to the Liverpool Echo.

The Toffees right-back was expected to depart Goodison Park in the summer, having been branded as surplus to requirements by boss Marco Silva, but an injury put paid to that.

The former Southampton player is only now nearing the end of his recovery from that issue, but is still unsure whether he will be up to speed enough to be an attractive proposition for another club in order to leave Everton in January.

In the likelihood that he isn’t, Martina might well end up seeing out his contract by featuring for the Toffees under-23s, with whom he is set to return to training with in the coming weeks.

The 30-year-old was taken to Everton by Ronald Koeman, but has never really been involved since Silva took charge at Goodison Park, and his career on Merseyside will end either in January or the summer when his current deal runs out.

The Toffees are suddenly blessed with full-backs with Seamus Coleman, Djibril Sidibe and Mason Holgate capable of playing down the right side, with Jonjoe Kenny still to return from a loan spell with Schalke.

Martina has been employed at left-back in his time at Everton but the route to that position looks blocked as well, with Lucas Digne a permanent fixture there, and Leighton Baines a more than adequate second option.

That leaves Martina in a spot of limbo when he is finally fit to return for the Toffees. He will be looking for a new club, but at this stage of his career, with a period of inactivity behind him, it is unlikely that he will get a deal equivalent to the one he is on. With that in mind, he could run his contract down until the summer.

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