Everton have agreed a deal for Northern Ireland teenage sensation Braiden Graham, TEAMtalk has learned.
The 16-year-old has been earning rave reviews playing for Linfield in the Northern Ireland Premiership and also for Northern Ireland’s Under-17s side.
Graham has been a prolific goalscorer in Linfield’s youth sides and he made history earlier this year in becoming Linfield’s youngest-ever player aged just 15 years and 137 days when he came off the bench to make his debut for the first-team in March.
A number of clubs in England and Scotland have been keeping track of Graham, but Everton have moved quickly to agree a deal with the player and Linfield.
Graham is set to join Everton on a scholarship deal until he turns 17 with the Toffees prepared to tie him down to what we understand to be a multi-year professional deal once his scholarship ends.
Everton see Graham as a potential star in the making and someone who they feel can develop into a first-team player at Goodison Park in the near future.
Everton are eager to build a strong base of youth in their academy set-up by signing young players who they can eventually develop into first-team players on Merseyside.
The Toffees have a proven track record of nurturing young talent, most recently with former youth prospect Anthony Gordon. The 22-year-old joined Everton’s youth academy in 2012 and worked his way through the ranks on Merseyside and eventually became an important member of the first team. Earlier this year, the Toffees sold Gordon for around £40million to Newcastle where he has continued to impress.
Everton could be hit with multiple exits
Sean Dyche’s side recently suffered a ten point deduction that moved them right back into the relegation fight in the Premier League. The Merseyside club were charged with financial breaches that amounted in a points deduction.
To make matters worse, the club could be set to lose some of their star players in the upcoming window as clubs attempt to capitalise on the Toffees’ misfortune.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin is being tracked by Newcastle as they look to improve their attacking options in the new year. The 26-year-old is willing to show patience and is determined to help the club through this spell as they fight the points deduction. However Newcastle and Arsenal have both had long-term interest in Calvert-Lewin and now have him back on the watchlist as he returns to form and a move to a top half side could certainly test Calvert-Lewin’s resolve.
Man Utd are also looking to swoop for two of Dyche’s stars in the winter window. Amadou Onana and Jarrad Branthwaite have been catching the eye of Erik ten Hag. The Red Devils are reportedly on standby to sign the pair.
If Everton do lose their top stars in the upcoming window it will be imperative that they are able to produce the next generation of talents.