EVERTON are close to agreeing a new deal for promising striker Conor McAleny.
The exciting 19-year-old goalscorer is highly regarded by Blues coaches, and is looking to break into the first team squad more regularly in the forthcoming season.
McAleny joined Everton as an 11-year-old, becoming a full-time member of the club’s academy in his late teens.
The pacy 19-year-old made his first-team debut as a substitute against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in December 2011, and almost scored with a late volley.
He made his first home appearance in the next league game, coming on for Louis Saha in a 1-1 draw against Norwich City, and in March joined League One side Scunthorpe United on loan for the remainder of the season.
He has made an impressive start to the summer featuring for Moyes’ side in all of his pre-season fixtures so far. And while the Blues have allowed older reserve players like James Wallace, Adam Forshaw and Aristote Nsiala to move on this summer, they are keen to keep hold of the Whiston-born forward.
Meanwhile, former Everton striker Graeme Sharp believes he is making progress on his summer scouting mission for the Toffees in China.
Last week, the Blues’ leading post-war goalscorer flew to China to assist in the club’s search for the country’s brightest young prospects.
Sharp’s arrival saw him take over from one-time team-mate Ian Snodin, who had aided Everton coaching staff in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenyang.
Having run the rule over the best players the bustling city of Chengdu had to offer, Sharp has now headed north-east to assess the talent on show in one of China’s heralded ancient capitals.
He said: I really enjoyed my time in Chengdu and, most importantly, we spotted one or two players who had that little bit of quality to stand out.
“Whether they have what it takes to make it at a higher level remains to be seen, but they made the most of the opportunity we gave them and those boys will now have a chance to impress us again at a later date.”
His fellow scout, Everton’s Senior Academy Development Officer Robbie Anderson.
“What we’re looking for is players who might just have what it takes to fit in and be able to compete in their age group at our Academy,” explained Anderson” he said. “It can be difficult for the lads because they simply haven’t been exposed to the type of coaching that we put our young players through back at Finch Farm and I think they’ve been surprised by how hard we’ve worked them.
“We’re hoping that by showing them how we do things and by putting them through drills we use, they can see the effort and ability level we expect at Everton.”