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Everton striker on verge of departure as clearout begins

The young Scot is set to continue his career away from Goodison Park

Wigan Athletic v Everton - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

As the senior team prepares for ‘Project Restart’, the Everton U23 side continues to be revamped ahead of the next campaign.

French media reports claim that striker Fraser Hornby is on the verge of signing for French side Reims on a four-year deal for around £2 million.

The 20-year-old spent last season on loan at Belgian club KV Kortrijk, scoring four goals in 14 appearances.

Reims were sixth in Ligue 1 when the rest of the French season was abandoned because of coronavirus.

With the Belgian league also curtailed because of coronavirus, Hornby is clear to discuss moves to other clubs and is expected to formally complete his move to France when the transfer window opens.

The Scotland U21 international joined Everton as a 15-year-old in 2014 for an initial £65,000 from Northampton Town.

He became a regular for the youth sides but only made one appearance for the senior set up - the Europa League dead rubber at Apollon Limassol in December 2017.

He was a member of the Toffees U23 squad that lifted the Premier League 2 title for the second time in three years in 2019, but like an increasing number of that team has not done enough to earn a place in the senior squad.

Earlier this month it was confirmed that U23 captain Morgan Feeney would not be offered a new contract and will leave the club at the end of the season.

Matty Foulds, Alex Denny and Manasse Mampala will also not be offered fresh deals, suggesting a more ruthless approach to running the youth side.

All too often in the past we have allowed players to stay at the club until their early 20s despite having little impact on the first team. This not only adds to the wage bill but also clogs up the development pathway for those coming up behind them.

There are exceptions of course, Leon Osman was 23 when he finally broke into the senior side, but such examples are rare.

Youngsters need to be playing regular first-team football by the time they hit 20 so if they are not anywhere near the Toffees senior side, it is probably best for all concerned that they fine regular action elsewhere.