Newcastle United’s long wait for a homegrown academy graduate to make his mark in the first-team looks set to go on after Everton nabbed highly-rated left-back Lewis Gibson in the summer.
The Liverpool Echo reported that The Toffees could end up paying up to £6 million for the England youth star, who can play on the flank or at centre-half.
While Newcastle were understandably frustrated to lose the 17-year-old before he signed his senior contract with the club, could an opportunity have opened up for the Tyneside club to respond in style?
The Sun reported earlier this month that Everton are tracking Preston North End’s rising star Josh Earl, a 6ft 5ins left-back who has exploded onto the first-team picture this season in the absence of the crocked Greg Cunningham.
It is reported that Everton see the 19-year-old as a potential successor to Leighton Baines (below). But, after signing Gibson, do The Toffees really need another highly-rated young left-back? Perhaps not.
Newcastle, then, should step in. HITC sources told us in July that The Magpies were tracking the teenage left-back and Earl could find regular minutes easier to come by at St James’ Park with only Paul Dummett ahead of him in the pecking order.
Earl recently signed a new contract with Preston until 2020, meaning the Lilywhites have a strong hand. However, if the highly-rated defender was to choose his preferred Premier League destination, Newcastle could provide more regular first-team action and a better chance to nail down a starting place in the near future.