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Latest deal shows Everton’s willingness to support the Academy

Toffees looking to develop squads at all levels

Germany U20 v USA U20 - International Match Photo by Mark Robinson/Getty Images

Given the astronomical sums sloshing around the Premier League you can forgive the rather tepid reaction to Everton’s loan deal for German youngster Anton Donkor.

There was even some head scratching amongst the supporters after the Toffees signed a player who doesn’t even have his own Wikipedia page.

But while we all enjoy seeing the club splash the cash on big-name star signings it is equally encouraging to see the club investing in youth.

Everton U23s were left short in forward areas following Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s progression to first team and subsequent injury. While forgotten man Oumar Niasse also proved a useful asset at U23 level before his loan move to Hull.

Therefore the arrival of Donkor, who joins from Wolfsburg until the end of the season, bolsters Everton U23s’ forward line at a critical stage of the season.

Donker’s progress will be monitored over the coming months, with Everton reportedly having the option to make the move permanent for around £1.5m.

If he is successful then Everton may enter negotiations to turn the deal permanent. If it doesn’t work out then the 19-year-old returns to Germany.

This kind of low-risk, high-reward strategy once again demonstrates Everton’s determination to place great focus on youth development.

Everton U23 manager and former academy graduate David Unsworth has praised Farhad Moshiri for his willingness to back him in the transfer market.

The Toffees are also are targeting Man City youngster Tosin Adarabioyo and Sheffield Wed academy striker George Hirst before the end of the transfer window.

It is that mix of home-grown youngsters, who join the club from the age of seven or eight, and teenagers signed from elsewhere that Everton hope will create the ideal formula for future success.

Bolton v Everton U23 - EFL Checkatrade Trophy Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Everton’s academy has a deserved reputation for being one of the best in the country, with players such as Wayne Rooney, Leon Osman and Ross Barkley going on to become full internationals.

Producing your own players can, of course, save a club millions in transfer fees while those who are sold can recoup a sizeable profit, easing any Financial Fair Play issues.

There is also something special about seeing a young player develop and grow into a senior first-team player.

Tom Davies is the latest youngster to roll off the production line, making the transition from youth to senior football with consummate ease. And given the performances of his young team-mates there are likely to be more breaking through soon.

The U23 squad are currently four points clear at the top of Premier League 2, above sides such as Chelsea, Arsenal, Man Utd, Man City and Liverpool.

The young Toffees are also top of their group in the Premier League Cup and look well set to reach the next stage.

The ultimate aim of the academy is to produce players for the first-team but that doesn’t mean they should forego the opportunity to win trophies.

If Donkor’s arrival boosts the side at a crucial stage of the season and ultimately helps them secure at least one trophy then it will have been a worthwhile exercise.

Success is engrained at all the major clubs from youth right through to the senior teams. If Everton want to build sustainable success for the long-term then they need to produce an Academy side full of winners.

That’s why the remit of director of football Steve Walsh is not just to recruit players for the first team, but to spot stars of the future as well.

So while the arrival of Donker is unlikely to make waves beyond Finch Farm, it is part of a wider strategy that will hopefully fuel sustained success for the senior side in the future.