Everton could discover their new Wayne Rooney in the upcoming January transfer window after they were linked with a move for Derby County midfielder Jason Knight.
According to Football League World, the Toffees are set to target the 20-year-old over the coming months as new manager Rafa Benitez looks to bolster his engine room options.
However, Everton will have extensive competition for Knight’s signature, with up to seven Premier League sides believed to be interested in his services.
The report states that: “Knight has emerged as a target for a host of Premier League clubs, with FLW sources indicating that Everton, Wolves, Crystal Palace, Leicester, Leeds, Burnley, and Newcastle are all keen.
“ExWHUemployee has now revealed that West Ham are also in the race for the Republic of Ireland international, who has one and a half years left on his current deal at Pride Park.”
Despite his tender years, Knight has already made 94 appearances for the Rams in all competitions and made an instant impression on current boss Rooney.
After the Everton academy graduate joined Derby on an initial player-coach deal, he showered the Republic of Ireland international in praise, even comparing him to a younger version of himself.
“I’ve been really impressed with the way they’ve trained, particularly Knighty,” revealed Rooney. “His energy, his attitude. He almost reminds me of myself when I was younger in terms of no fear.
“And he’s got an aggression about him, not in terms of how he’s tackling, but in terms of how he runs, how he gets about the pitch. I’m looking forward to seeing how they do as I feel he can give us a lot of energy and a lot of creativity.”
His current teammate Graeme Shinnie has also been impressed with the form of his youthful colleague as the pair continue to strike up a healthy partnership in the Derby County engine room.
“He has a massive expectation of himself and he demands a lot which is really good as a young player, and his attitude is first class, so it shows a lot about him,” said Shinnie. “He works very hard, as well, which is extremely good, especially for a young player.”
With the Midlands outfit in need of a cash injection following their ongoing financial woes, Knight could be available in a cut-price deal during January, and Everton may well be able to pick up their next talisman for a bargain fee.
He might not quite represent the impeccable offensive threat that Rooney was during his time in Merseyside – bagging 28 strikes – but he’s certainly a young man with swagger, aggression and exuberance to his game; three areas the now Rams manager typified at times.