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Everton risk compounding academy issues

Arsenal monitoring unsigned Everton youth.

Arsenal v Everton - Premier League 2 Photo by James Chance/Getty Images

The Mirror has suggested that Arsenal is monitoring Everton youth product Ryan Astley. Astley, a defender, was given his U-23 debut by David Unsworth at just 16 years of age and was, according to his manager, the best player on the pitch. Now approaching his 17th birthday, the player still has not been signed to a professional contract, and Everton risk losing the player to another club.

Recently, Royal Blue Mersey’s School of Science podcast discussed the fact that Everton is simply not producing high level academy graduates at a strong rate at all. (By the way, if you aren’t in on this podcast as an Everton fan, you’re really missing out.) Astley seems to be just the sort of player to alter this trend, a defender that will never let us down.

Everton fans’ hearts have been aching for an iconic homegrown success story and most are too shy to say that Tom Davies and his fellow graduates currently in the first team just aren’t living up to expectations.

It is too early to panic about Everton bungling this, there’s a good chance it will all turn out just fine but this is a player worth keeping an eye on. It would be a real shame for him to get sniped and go on to success elsewhere in England when he was raised and trained at Finch Farm.

You know the rules and so do I, a full commitment’s what this get should get from the club. If you ask me how I’m feeling, I think you’d have to be blind not to see his talent and the good Everton can do for themselves by getting this kid on a pro deal.