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Everton interest in Austrian starlet a bad sign for Kieran Dowell

A number of Premier League sides are in the running for Hannes Wolf

Red Star Belgrade v FC Red Bull Salzburg - UEFA Champions League Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

One of the best things that has happened for Everton since Marcel Brands took over as Director of Football is that the Toffees have become global in their outlook when searching for new talent. Whether it’s grabbing Brazilian Bernard from Shakhtar Donetsk or any one of the trio from Barcelona, Brands always has his eyes open for young players that fit the high character profile that he and Marco Silva have set as the target at the Toffees.

The latest starlet to be linked with the Blues is one that is not yet a household name in international football, but is well on the way. Austrian teenage sensation Hannes Wolf is a left-footed attacking midfielder currently plying his trade for Red Bull Salzburg, but has already been catching scouts’ attention especially in the Premier League and in Germany.

The 19-year-old has been compared in playing style to Tottenham Hotspur lynchpin Christian Eriksen, and the Mirror report that Spurs, Arsenal, Southampton and Everton are all in the running for the player, as well as a number of Bundesliga sides.

Wolf starred memorably in the 2016-17 UEFA Youth League, carrying his RB Salzburg side to glory with seven goals and five assists in seven games, disposing of youth sides from perennial powerhouses like Manchester City, Paris St Germain, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona on the way.

Among his best characteristics is that he is a “hardworking, and well-rounded forward, with notable tactical intelligence and versatility capable of playing in several offensive positions, either in the centre as a striker, as a supporting forward, as an attacking midfielder, or as a winger”. (via Football Talent Scout)

He scored 12 times with 8 assists last season, and despite the disappointment of not making the Champions League, led his Salzburg team to the semifinals of the Europa League where they lost to Olympique Marseille over two legs.

With Salzburg’s chokehold on the Austrian Bundesliga, Wolf only gets tested on European nights and was unable again to lead his team to the Champions League this season. He has 5 goals and 9 assists this season, and Salzburg have a 100% record in the Europa League Group B after five games, in a group that also includes Celtic and RB Leipzig.

Nikola Vlasic appears very unlikely to return to the Blues when his loan at CSKA Moscow expires if his recent rhetoric is anything to go by, while Kieran Dowell hasn’t really impressed in the two opportunities he’s been given this season in the League Cup to start at the #10 position. If the Blues do indeed sign Wolf, that is as sure a sign as any that Silva is ready to move on from Dowell.