Everton have fended off the interest of “several” Premier League sides to sign Sunderland youngster Francis Okoronkwo, according to reports.
The striker has progressed through the ranks at League One side Sunderland.
The 16-year-old has impressed for the Black Cats’ under-18 side and this led to Premier League sides showing interest in him.
The Daily Mail have reported that Sunderland were keen to keep a hold of Okoronkwo this summer.
Despite this, Everton have beaten “several” Premier League rivals to the signing of the young forward. The report adds that the starlet will cost the Toffees around £1m.
Okoronkwo will join Everton’s academy once the transfer from Sunderland is passed by the Premier League.
Elsewhere, new Everton boss Rafael Benitez has suggested that supporters that live near him have been “very supportive” and “happy” that he has taken over at Goodison Park.
Benitez’s appointment at Everton is a controversial one. The Spaniard previously managed their arch-rivals Liverpool between 2004 and 2010. In that time, he won the Champions League with the Reds.
The 61-year-old has also managed Chelsea and Newcastle United in recent years. Everton are expected to be busy in the transfer market this summer, as they have been linked with PSV’s Denzel Dumfries.
Benitez went onto insist that Everton can be “ambitious” this summer despite having “financial restrictions” in place:
He added: “The reality is that when you go to any club the manager has an important opinion.
“You have to work in the context of when you have a director of football, the board, the financial restrictions. There are a lot of things you have to put together.
“But I am quite happy with the commitment of the lads. They are training really well. I think we can improve things. If we can add players and they are good for us, I think that is the objective.
“If we improve the players we have, we have good communication between everyone working here and managing the financial restrictions that you have to manage.
“But there is doing that, and still being ambitious.”