Everton are keen on landing Wigan Athletic prodigy Joe Gelhardt, according to the Express.
The teenage striker has yet to start a game for the Latics, but did score his first goal in the north west a fortnight ago.
And it is understood that his sudden emergence in the Championship has led to an influx of interest from the top flight, with the Toffees facing competition for his signature from Frank Lampard’s Chelsea.
Gelhardt still has two years left to run on his current contract with Wigan, who will reportedly try to resist the urge to cash in on him.
How good can Gelhardt become?
Swooping for a teenage talent from a lower league is always going to be a gamble, but Gelhardt has shown that he has an awful lot of precociousness and potential.
So far, in his three Championship appearances, he has averaged 42.9% dribble success rate, 2.28 touches in the opposition box, and 1.14 progressive runs per match, as per Wyscout.
As a frame of reference, Moise Kean, Everton’s big money summer signing from Juventus, has only got a dribble success rate of 38.9% in the Premier League this season, and only marginally outstrips Gelhardt in the other areas too, with 2.87 touches in the opposition box and 1.6 progressive runs, as per Wyscout.
Bear in mind, Kean is two years older than Gelhardt, and learned his trade at one of the best sides in Europe.
If the Wigan Athletic starlet can keep this kind of trajectory going, he could be a really decent signing.
Is he likely to sign?
There are two main obstacles to Everton snapping up Gelhardt.
Firstly, the youngster still has two years left to run on his contract with Athletic, and while the Express claims that they will try to hang on to their new talent, a report from Financial Football News suggests that the club’s finances aren’t in fantastic shape.
That in turn could force their hand on this one.
Secondly, that interest from Chelsea seems fairly strong.
Frank Lampard is building a side of young, English talent, and Gelhardt certainly fits that bill to a tee.
A factor that could help the Toffees, however, is Chelsea’s transfer ban, which is in place until next summer.
If they act fast and move in January, this deal could end up being a goer.