Everton think they’ve completed a deal similar to the one that brought Dominic Calvert-Lewin to Goodison Park with Sunderland youngster Francis Okoronkwo signing for up to £1 million, as reported by the Liverpool Echo.
Don’t make the mistake in assuming Everton have handed over a briefcase full of £50 notes to their north east counterparts, muttering “pleasure doing business with you” before walking away with a teenage winger in tow.
The Toffees have paid only a small proportion of that seven-figure sum up front.
And Sunderland, as per the stipulations in the deal, will only get their £1 million windfall should Okoronkwo fulfil a number of clauses in his contract.
Everton will hope Francis Okoronkwo is more DCL than Josh Bowler
Aged just 17, it’s far from certain the skilful forward will become a first-team player at Goodison Park.
For all we know, he may struggle to make an impact on the blue half of Merseyside before looking to jump-start his career in the EFL, a la Josh Bowler.
Bowler, the former QPR starlet, joined Everton in a deal potentially rising to £3 million in 2017 (Sky Sports). Only half of that was paid up front.
It was a similar story when Calvert-Lewin, then a little-known 19-year-old, arrived from Sheffield United.
Everton forked out more than £500,000 for a teenage ‘DCL’, with the other £1 million paid over time (Echo).
It remains to be seen whether Okoronkwo can follow in Calvert-Lewin’s footsteps and become one of the first names on Everton’s team sheet – or whether he, like Bowler, fails to make the transition from academy football to life in the first team.
Bowler is, at least, making a name for himself away from Goodison Park.
Bowler scored a brilliant winner in the shock win against promotion favourites Fulham recently, a glimpse into the potential Everton saw in him all those years ago.