By Matt Farr
Everton have identified Sheffield Wednesday youngster George Hirst as their next January target – according to a report.
The Liverpool Echo understand that Everton want to add up to four new players to their Under-23 side this month, and the 17-year-old forward is their first pick.
Hirst made his senior debut for the Championship side back in August against Cambridge, but has featured for the first-team on just one occasion since – against Reading in December.
However, he was named on the bench in three of Sheffield Wednesday’s last five league games, suggesting that he is a player that could have an impact in the first-team setup.
The young forward – the son of former-Wednesday striker David Hirst – has also made appearances for England’s U17 and U18 sides, scoring four goals from seven appearances in total, and as of last month, had scored 22 goals in 30 matches for Wednesday’s youth side.
Everton U23 boss David Unsworth has identified Hirst as a player that could follow in the footsteps of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who has already broken into the Everton first-team following his arrival in the summer.
Unsworth is believed to be planning a major shake-up of his squad, despite them leading the division with nine wins from 13 games.
Wednesday would likely prefer to keep hold of their young, upcoming striker, who is contracted to the club until 2018.
Football Insider verdict
While Ronald Koeman is focused on bringing in talent to improve the quality of the first-team squad, it wouldn’t hurt for David Unsworth to do the same with his Under-23s. Calvert-Lewin has looked a decent purchase by the club in the summer, and has now gone on to make an impression in the first-team. Tom Davies, meanwhile, is another youngster that has made the jump to Koeman’s squad in recent weeks. Unsworth has a clear eye for young talent, and Everton are benefiting from it. Hirst has not had much first-team experience, but has been in good touch at youth level, so looks another decent choice by the Toffees. It would be great for him to learn from the likes of Romelu Lukau at Goodison Park, so if Everton can do a deal in the near future, it would be a good move.
In other Everton transfer news, Toffees fans have reacted on Twitter as Tom Cleverley completes his loan move to Watford.