Everton are in talks with Nottingham Forest over a deal for teenage midfielder Brennan Johnson, as the club step up their search for the country’s leading young talents.
Johnson, 15, is the son of former Forest and Ipswich striker David and Everton have seen a number of bids rejected by the Championship club.
Everton want to sign the England under-16 international this season but have been told to pay around £1million, with director of football Steve Walsh now expected to enter negotiations. The deal could go to a tribunal if Everton fail to agree a fee.
Johnson has been a regular in Forest’s under-18s this season and is the latest talent to emerge from the club’s highly regarded academy.
Ben Brereton, the striker, is another Forest teenager to attract attention from the top-flight while other youngsters such as Joe Worrall and Arvin Appiah have been frequently scouted.
Everton have revamped their recruitment department since the appointment of Walsh last year and are committed to signing exciting young players for the future.
Ademola Lookman, 19, was signed for £11million from Charlton Athletic in January and has already broken into Ronald Koeman’s first-team, scoring four minutes into his Premier League debut against Manchester City.
Walsh said: “The most important thing is the recruitment of players for the first team, but I'm also conscious of the fact we have a good academy and good young players coming through.
“Doing that is the hallmark of a successful club. We will build on what we've got and take the club forward."