SUNDERLAND will continue to monitor the situation of former loanee Ellis Simms this summer as Everton weigh up the striker's future on Merseyside.

Simms spent the first half of last season on loan at the Stadium of Light and impressed Tony Mowbray before he was surprisingly recalled at the start of the January window.

Had Everton landed a striker in the winter window they'd have let Simms rejoin Sunderland, but their failure to bolster the frontline meant Sean Dyche was unwilling to sanction a Stadium of Light return for the 22-year-old striker, with the Toffees embroiled in a relegation scrap.

Simms featured 11 times for Everton in the second half of the campaign and scored a crucial goal in the 2-2 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, but he played just 10 minutes of football in the last seven games of the Premier League season, with the Toffees eventually staying up on the final day thanks to a 1-0 win over Bournemouth.

Dyche is now planning for his first full term in charge at Goodison Park and warned that Everton have a "massive" amount of work to do this summer if they're to avoid another season of struggle.

A striker is a priority for Dyche, who wants senior support for Dominic Calvert-Lewin - which will leave Everton with a decision to make on Simms.

The striker is entering the final 12 months of his contract so if Everton are not convinced that the striker can become a regular at Goodison, now would be the time to cash in.

Simms won't be a regular starter for Dyche next term but if Everton still have first team hopes for the frontman, another loan move might be deemed the best course of action.

With that in mind, it's not out of the question that Everton will give Simms an extended deal, which will buy time for the Toffees and strengthen their hand when it comes to the striker's long term future.

Reluctant to leave himself short in attack, Dyche may yet decide to keep Simms around as competition. Dyche will only make a final decision on Simms once he's strengthened his attack with incomings.


Simms scored seven goals in 17 appearances for Sunderland in the first half of the season before his recall, with Everton's surprise decision coming at the start of a tough January for the Black Cats, who also lost Ross Stewart to serious injury.

Mowbray had hoped to play Stewart and Simms as a pair but never got the chance.

Strengthening the forward line is a priority this summer for Sunderland, who had to negotiate the second half of the season without a recognised No.9, making their top six finish all the more impressive.

Luis Semedo is close to completing his move from Benfica, but two strikers are on the club's wishlist and a return for Simms - particularly in another loan move would tick a lot of boxes for Mowbray.

In January, when Sunderland were hoping to resign Simms late in the window, Mowbray said: “Ellis Simms, if he comes back will be huge for this football club, because he gives us a focal point at the front end of the pitch. He scored some massively important goals before he was recalled to Everton."