Everton are huge fans of PSV wonderkid Mohammed Ihattaren, but they won’t be making any attempt to lure him away from Holland, director of football Marcel Brands has revealed.
Ihattaren, who turned 17 on Tuesday, has attracted interest from the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City after recently breaking into the Dutch club’s first-team.
And Toffees transfer chief Brands, PSV’s former director of football, admits he would snap up the talented midfielder in a heartbeat, but believes Ihattaren should stay in Eindhoven for the benefit of his career.
“Frankly, I’d like to have him at Everton tomorrow, he’s so good, but I don’t think that’s the path he should take,” he told Voetball International.
“He will need an intermediate step later. In that respect, Mo is good at PSV.
“The club plays European football, he has a great chance of playing time and he is in the national teams.
“If he now went abroad, he has a lot less guarantees.
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“The step to the Premier League is really big and it can also go wrong with a talent.
“Now he has a coach who sees it in him, I would say cherish that.
“The big money will then come naturally.”
Former Dutch footballer Brands became Everton’s director of football in 2018 following an eight-year spell in the same role at PSV.
According to reports, Barcelona are also keen on Ihattaren, who made his senior PSV debut a fortnight ago.
Everton have been set the target of winning the Premier League and playing Champions League football in their new stadium in the next decade by the club’s chief executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale.
Barret-Baxendale, who was appointed in May – sacking then-manager Sam Allardyce and director of football Steve Walsh on her second day – has overseen huge changes in the structure of the club at all levels.
She is also highly ambitious and as part of her ‘new broom’ approach has laid down a series of challenging targets, befitting the status of their proposed new £500million stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock, she wants the Toffees to aspire to.
However, in order to do that they have to dramatically improve their revenue streams as for every £1 available for top-six clubs to spend Everton currently have 41p.
In her maiden address to the club’s general meeting, held at Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall, Barrett-Baxendale told assembled shareholders the vision was to be “challenging at the top of the Premier League and competing at the highest level in European competitions”.
“Ultimately this means challenging for domestic titles and trophies, not only to win cups, but to win Premier League titles too,” she added.
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“It means competing regularly in the Champions League and it means doing all of this in a world-class, world-renowned football stadium.
“This is an extremely challenging goal. It is very much a long-term goal for our club but it is vital we are ambitious and that we deliver performance on and off the pitch that drives our club forward to achieve our ambitions.
“I acknowledge our vision is challenging, and the barriers to entry are indeed daunting, but we are Everton and we must all be focused and driven to meet that challenge.”
The man charged with overseeing the move towards a Premier League title challenge is not manager Marco Silva but current director of football Marcel Brands.
Barrett-Baxendale announced at the meeting Brands, who arrived in May to replace Walsh, had been appointed to the board of directors and has been put in charge of promoting a long-term, club-wide strategy.
Everton have learned lessons from the failure of the Walsh experiment, who was the club’s first director of football in their history, and Barrett-Baxendale felt putting their faith in Brands was the right thing to do.
“This appointment (to the board) further cements the importance and permanence of the position of director of football within our structure,” she said.
“Marcel is now responsible and accountable for delivering the long-term, holistic, football strategy and principles from the academy through to the first team.”
Agents have been making the headlines more and more over the past few years, with their sometimes obscene fees turning them into major players in the transfer window.
And it appears there are a few daring individuals trying to get a piece of the action, as Brands explained in an EXCLUSIVE interview with talkSPORT host Jim White on Thursday.
Asked about the craziest demand he ever got from an agent, the Everton chief explained: “There was one agent, I don’t know him, but he sent me a message saying, ‘congratulations with Zouma, can I send my invoice for 50k to you?’
“But I never spoke to him – it was crazy!
“There are so many agents and people thinking they are involved.
“The things that happen (with agents) are getting stranger and stranger, and that’s not a good thing for football.”
He added: “I’ve never seen so many agents ever in my life as I have in England.
Everton sporting director Marcel Brands has told talkSPORT ‘it’s possible’ more players could leave the club before the end of the transfer window.
It’s been a busy summer for the Toffees, who have spent close to £90million on a host of top players and also offloaded a number of out-of-favour stars.
Club-record signing Richarlison, Barcelona trio Yerry Mina, Andre Gomes and Lucas Digne and Brazil international Bernard are among the big signings to arrive at Goodison Park.
Meanwhile, hometown hero Wayne Rooney left for MLS side DC United, £23m flop Davy Klaassen joined Werder Bremen, Kevin Mirallas has been loaned to Fiorentina and Ashley Williams has moved to Championship side Stoke City also on loan.
There are still question marks over a number of players still at Everton, most notably 20-year-old Ademola Lookman, who fans want to stay at Goodison amid links with a permanent move away to German club RB Leipzig.
Brands joined talkSPORT host Jim White for an EXCLUSIVE interview on Thursday.
And, asked if more players could leave Goodison before the August 31 deadline, he said: “Yeah, it’s possible.
“I’m still busy with a few things.
“You never know, there still can be something happening in our squad.”
But the Toffees chief assured supporters there is no chance any of Marco Silva’s key squad members will be snapped up by other clubs, as the new boss aims for a positive start to his reign on Merseyside.
“It’s ok, we are trying to protect the players we want to keep in.
“I don’t worry about that.”
Listen back to talkSPORT’s interview with Everton sporting director Marcel Brands, as he talked the Richarlison and Yerry Mina deals, Marca Silva’s hopes for the season and more, IN FULL above!
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