Everton have ramped up their European and South American scouting under new Director of Football Marcel Brands, but one of the players being linked with the Blues might not be eligible for a transfer until the summer.
Yesterday TurkishFootball revealed that the Toffees have been watching Schalke 04’s youth side, with a view to signing captain Görkem Can. The central defender has been turning heads lately at the Under-19 level, and is just the latest product of the famed Schalke Academy, following in the footsteps of Leroy Sane, Max Meyer, Sead Kolasinac, Julian Draxler, Joel Matip, Benedikt Howedes and Mesut Ozil among others to have been trained by youth coach Norbert Elgert at Knappenschmiede.
However, a move for the defender in January might not be possible following the transgressions of the former head of recruitment at Everton’s Academy Martin Waldron. The Blues have been banned by the Premier League from signing any players between the ages of ten and eighteen following a guilty plea to tapping-up charges of a former Cardiff City youngster who is now at Manchester United.
There might be some wiggle room in the wording of the suspension that states Everton cannot sign any academy player who has been registered with another Premier League or EFL club in the preceding 18 months until November 2020 – Schalke are in the Bundesliga and if the player is registered straight away with the senior side then the Blues will have successfully circumvented the Premier League ruling, but that might turn into a legal imbroglio.
The player’s current contract runs through to the end of the 2019-20 season and the club are interested in extending his deal sooner than later. Can turns 19 in May 2019 which would then remove any doubts about a switch to the Blues if they are still interested and the player available.
Can started off as an attacking midfielder before switching to a left-sided centrehalf and remains eligible for both Turkey (where his parents were born) and Germany whose youth sides he has represented already.
Brands had stated soon after the end of last summer’s transfer window that his next project would be to develop the Academy, and though the transfer ban puts a kink in that plan, it’s hard to believe that he will be dissuaded by a minor inconvenience such as that.