Tapping-up seems to be the phrase of the week as Everton face a second allegation of making an illegal approach - this time for a schoolboy player.
The Daily Telegraph report that Everton are now under investigation for allegedly tapping-up the youngster while he played for Cardiff in 2016.
The report also claims that the Toffees ultimately pulled out of the deal due to Fifa regulations regarding cross-border transfers for players under the age of 16. But that left the player’s career on hold until Cardiff received £10,000 in compensation.
Manchester United eventually stepped in and paid the fee to Cardiff in order to bring the player to Old Trafford.
If found guilty Everton could be handed an academy transfer ban similar to ones handed to Manchester City and Liverpool for similar offences in recent seasons.
In response Everton say they are “cooperating fully” with the authorities as well as launching their own investigation.
It’s not been a good week for the club’s off-field reputation with this allegation coming hot-on-the-heels of news of independent inquiry into their pursuit of Marco Silva.
The bitter dispute between Everton and Watford has been going on for 11 months without resolution and could now drag into the New Year.
You would have to be very naive to think that tapping-up doesn’t occur at all levels of the game to a certain extent. But it seems Everton just haven’t been very good at it recently and have been caught out.
Pursuing managers is one thing but illegally tapping-up schoolboy players - and potentially disrupting their fledging careers - is another.
Whatever the outcome it seems tighter regulation is needed as Everton aren’t alone in pushing the boundaries to try and secure the best young talent in the country.