Carlo Ancelotti can define his Everton tenure with the capture of Dundee United’s highly sought-after hotshot Kerr Smith.
According to The Courier, Manchester United have taken Smith on a week-long trial as interest begins to swell across the Premier League.
Aston Villa were previously said to be at the front of the queue chasing Smith’s signature after taking the 15-year-old centre-back on trial ahead of turning 16 in a couple of months, at which point he can sign his first professional contract.
Manchester United and Everton have also been tracking the teen sensation’s situation, with the Red Devils welcoming the former central midfielder to their facilities for a week-long trial to run the rule over his potential.
Smith is very highly-rated at Dundee, where manager Micky Mellon awarded the young upstart game time in a pre-season friendly with Sheffield United in August.
Dundee are yet to give up hopes of retaining the promising Smith, but would see a move to England as another feather in the cap of Academy Director Andy Goldie while enhancing the reputation of the Tannadice youth set-up.
United Sporting Director Tony Asghar has also claimed Smith would like to remain at Dundee, though accepted they cannot stop other sides from wanting to take a look.
“You’re talking about some of the biggest clubs in the world,” Asghar told Courier Sport following Smith’s trial at Manchester United. “Plenty of clubs have asked to have a look at him but we can’t let him go to them all.
“It’s great for him but we want the best players at our football club and Kerr has the potential to be one of them. He’s already shown that against Sheffield United. He’s got a great attitude.”
Ancelotti moving Everton to the front of the queue and convincing Smith that Finch Farm would be the best place to develop could define the Italian’s tenure at Goodison Park, having already shown supporters what young defenders are capable of in Jarrad Branthwaite.
The Toffees beat off competition from several clubs to seal Branthwaite’s signature in January, having scouted the 18-year-old multiple times while with Carlisle United before sealing a £750,000 deal.
He was only expected to link up with David Unsworth’s Under 23s at first, but the Carlisle-born centre-half was called on to feature on the first-team bench when Premier League action resumed in June before making his debut at Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Ancelotti then started the teen star against Aston Villa, Sheffield United and Bournemouth, though has been without the winter arrival this term as a result of an ankle injury sustained in the Carabao Cup against Salford City.
Branthwaite’s debut was lauded by Ancelotti at the time, with the Italian claiming he has the potential to be a “fantastic” addition to the Toffees backline.
“I am really happy with him, he is really young, a kid,” Ancelotti told EvertonTV. “But he showed quality and personality and character.
“He is really calm with the ball, really comfortable, and really aggressive without the ball. He can be a fantastic player for us. The squad is really young but to compete we have to improve quickly.”
Smith could yet follow the path Branthwaite has blazed in 2020, defining Ancelotti’s tenure as a coach not just capable of bringing word-class talents like James Rodriguez to Goodison Park but also setting the Blues up for years after his stay.