Everton have joined the chase for Kerr Smith and are ready to battle city rivals Liverpool for his signature, TEAMtalk understands.
Smith, 16, has recently spent time with the Scotland under-19 squad. But he has been earning rave reviews at Tannadice. The defender has made six appearances this season and played at centre-back and right-back. His name is well known south of the border with a number of Premier League clubs checking on him.
Smith trained with Manchester United, Aston Villa and Everton in 2020 before signing his first professional contract with Dundee United.
Liverpool have been on his trail for a long time, but they are not alone in their admiration. Indeed, a report earlier this month also cited Manchester United, Manchester City, Leeds and Southampton as admirers.
However, we understand Everton are now very much at the head of the queue. Our sources have revealed that, after extensive scouting trips this season, they have held positive talks over a potential deal.
And the Toffees interest in being spearheaded through assistant coach Duncan Ferguson, who retains good links in the area and began his career with the Terrors.
Smith is contracted to United until 2020, but they are gearing up for January interest.
However, we understand that should any deal be agreed, he would likely stay at Tannadice for an extended loan spell.
Dundee United boss calm on Smith interest
Despite the growing stampede for Smith, Dundee United boss Thomas Courts believes the youngster is in no hurry to leave.
“Kerr has had to deal with it for the best part of a year now so it’s nothing new for him,” Courts told The Courier.
“He has been down training with English Premier League clubs in the past so we know they are aware of him.
“It’s a pretty unique situation having a 16-year-old playing regularly in your first team and being good enough. When that happens there is always a lot of interest, especially with a defender because of the physical profile.
“And if someone of his age can handle it, then it’s attractive to clubs because they will think: ‘Where will this boy be in four years’ time if he’s already playing at 16?’
“Kerr is a really level-headed guy. He doesn’t get put up or down by much and that’s a great temperament to have.
“Hopefully we can keep him developing at our club for a while longer. Do we expect bids in January? I am not entirely sure, we are aware of the speculation but I don’t know of anything developing.”