Spanish winger Gerard Deulofeu has written an open letter thanking Everton and their fans following the end of his season-long loan.
The Barcelona winger spent a year on Merseyside, and Roberto Martinez and Everton fans retained hope that the young Spaniard would remain for a second season.
And, though his intention was always to return to the Camp Nou, he seemed open to the prospect of another year in England.
However, new Barcelona boss Luis Enrique wishes to make the 20-year-old part of his team for the upcoming season, requesting that both Deulofeu and Rafinha Alcantara return to the club.
Regardless, Deulofeu is grateful for his 12 months of tutelage under Roberto Martinez and the ongoing support of the fans and players.
“Dear Evertonians,” he wrote in a letter posted on Twitter.
"I would like to thank Everton and all their fans for this special year in my career. A new country, a new club, a new way of seeing, living and understanding football.”
"I have grown as a football player but also as a person and that is why I would like to thank every person that has helped and accompanied me on this journey. The club and the manager for the great opportunity, my team-mates for welcoming me and to the fans for the fantastic support.”
Deulofeu scored three goals and made three assists in nine Premier League starts with a further 16 appearances coming off the bench, usually impressing in a cameo role.
The 20-year-old excited with his speed and dribbling ability and put in some impressive performances against Arsenal and Newcastle this season.
"I am proud and happy with my year at Everton, having helped the club and I hope that the fans enjoyed my football," he added.
“I wish Everton lots of luck and success in the future. You will always be in my heart.”
The Spain U21 international now returns to Barcelona, where he made his debut aged just 17. However, he has only made five first team appearances since.
Seen as one of Spanish football’s brightest prospects, the winger’s development has been carefully considered. Having scored 18 goals in 33 appearances for the Barcelona’s B side,
He was loaned out to gain top-flight football experience.
However he may now get the opportunity to feature regularly in the Barcelona side. Deulofeu is a better player than he was 12 months ago. And with the departures of Pedro, Alexis Sanchez and Cristian Tello all likely, he may get his chance to feature.
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