The Toffees have endured a dismal start to the season, which ultimately cost Ronald Koeman his job last month, with David Unsworth in as caretaker manager.
Whilst a lack of firepower has been frustrating for Everton this season, their ageing defence has also been a huge problem, with Ashley Williams, Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines all struggling this term.
Whilst Michael Keane was brought in to add youth at centre back, Everton failed to bring in a young left back to learn behind Baines and eventually replace the former England international.
Now, The Sun claim that Everton have been watching Preston North End left back Josh Earl, with a view to potentially making a more for the teenager in the near future.
Earl, 19, was born in nearby Southport before joining the Preston ranks back in 2007, and whilst his only prior experience was during a loan spell with non-league Lancaster City last season, Earl was thrust into first-team action this season.
With first-choice left back Greg Cunningham out injured, manager Alex Neil put his faith in Earl, and he has been rewarded with some superb performances from the 6ft 5in left back, impressing both defensively and going forward.
Sadly for the Lilywhites, Earl suffered a minor knee ligament injury against Aston Villa in midweek, and Everton may choose to keep tabs on him when he does return ahead of the January transfer window.
Preston are in a strong position too, given that they tied Earl down to a new contract until 2020 back in September, and with no pressure to sell, the Lilywhites could demand a hefty fee for their talented young left back if Everton do come calling in 2018 as they look for Baines' long-term heir.
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