It has been a miserable period around Goodison Park with the injustice stemming from the derby defeat, so it's time for some better news.
Everton have once again spent what limited resources they have on a prospect who, at these very early stages, seems to have the potential to dazzle. Few youngsters have ever set the pulses of so many scouts into frenzied palpitations the way George Green has in recent months.
Earlier this week, Everton pulled off a coup in signing him, beating the likes of Tottenham, Arsenal, Bayern Munich and Rangers to his signature. The fee is thought to be initially around £300,000, but may swell to around £2 million, depending on how his future evolves.
This price may well cause some raised eyebrows among Everton fans—but despite financial restrictions, the club has always been willing to invest six-figure sums on youngsters. Apostolos Vellios and Seamus Coleman are two very recent testaments to that.
Green, just 15, has already featured for Bradford’s senior reserve team. He also played in a specially arranged trial match in front of a horde of scouts for Tottenham’s Under 18s against the best of Aston Villa's academy.
In that match, Green scored a stunning hat trick, sending interest in him into overdrive. Archie Christie, Bradford's head of football development, was quoted in The Liverpool Echo discussing his trial and subsequent performance:
“He was 15 playing for the reserves, challenging for headers he had no right to win against men. Harry had loaned us a goalkeeper at short notice so we owed him a good turn, and we agreed to let George go and have a trial down there.
“For the first 15 minutes of the game against Villa he was quiet, then he took it by the scruff of the neck and scored three. His first was sublime, a 25 yard effort into the top corner, and for the second he beat about six opponents."
As is mentioned in many sources, Tottenham initially believed they had secured Green's signature before a last minute trip to Goodison Park was made. Here, the club presented Green an Everton shirt with his name and the number 10 on the back. He had a meeting with David Moyes, and despite Spurs reportedly throwing double what the Toffees were offering up front—around £600,000—Green and Bradford felt his immediate future was at Everton.
This is the correct choice by both parties. As cash-strapped as Everton are, they are renowned for investing huge chunks of time, energy and what little cash they have into youth.
For inspiration, Green only has to look at Wayne Rooney, Jack Rodwell and now Ross Barkley, who may have found their ascent to the first team substantially more blockaded at other Premier League teams. Green's alternative potential suitors may also have eventually become more inclined and financially able to introduce an expensive foreign signing, suffocating his emergence.
The Toffees are one of the best clubs at sculpting youngsters into Premier League assets, already possessing a squad brimming with young talent. Moyes' current options in midfield are bolstered by many of these players in the primitive stages of their careers, all possessing the positive contagious traits that generally accompanies youthful exuberance.
The likes of Rodwell, Barkley, Magaye Gueye and Seamus Coleman have all surely had far more exposure and game time than they would have received elsewhere, which would have certainly played into Green's thinking.
Additionally, Bradford are far more likely to receive healthier compensation from Everton than other clubs. This is because the chances of Green getting games with the Toffees is far more probable, which obviously increases his value much quicker, benefiting Bradford in the event of an eventual sale.
The Bantams would have also considered how the Toffees generally sell big. In David Moyes' tenure, only Joleon Lescott and Wayne Rooney have truly left against the Scot's wishes, both for extravagant prices.
Of course, there is always the tendency to be skeptical about mysterious youngsters yet to be judged by mass football audiences. Everton have recently been very fortunate with Rodwell, Rooney, and potentially Barkley, as well as with the scouting references they have received on Coleman and Vellios.
It must be remembered that there has been plenty of hype surrounding other proteges such as Francis Jeffers, Danny Cadamarteri and Scott Spencer, who have not quite impressed as much.
However, beating such elite sides in a chase for a player so clearly desired should be celebrated at this moment in time by Evertonians.
According to Archie Christie, Green plays best behind the front man in a similar manner to Rooney. Despite the likes of Tom Cleverley and Fabian Delph recently coming through at Bradford, encouragingly for Everton, Christie still rates Green as the best he has ever seen.
As for the Rooney comparison, Christie has since retracted it, saying he regrets labelling him as such.
One hopes Green has the mental attributes to knuckle down and absorb everything Everton can offer him over the next few years, so he has the best chance of fulfilling his glistening potential.
Now they have him on board, Everton have also tried to play down the youngster's promise and deflate the hype. Although that has not stopped many media outlets using Christie's Rooney tag and even furthering it, with some describing Green as a hybrid of Rooney and a certain Paul Gascoigne.
No pressure then, George!
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