Everton offer Joe Anderson new one-year contract to hedge off transfer interest
According to the Liverpool Echo, Everton have offered Joe Anderson a one-year contract extension in hopes of retaining the academy defender against widespread transfer interest.
Anderson is currently set to be a free agent from this summer as he nears the end of the two-year deal penned in 2019, when awarded his first professional terms after providing a key role in the Blues’ Under 18 side.
The 20-year-old is thought to be weighing up the Toffees’ offer to extend his time at Finch Farm into a sixth season, having begun to regularly train with Carlo Ancelotti’s first-team and establish himself as a mainstay in David Unsworth’s U23s.
Everton are keen to retain the centre-half, who joined the club aged 15 following time spent in Liverpool’s academy, but are aware they face competition for his signature from a clutch of Football League outfits.
Anderson may elect to favour a move away from Merseyside when his current deal expires in June, feeling that a route to the first-team will potentially come sooner in a lower division having yet been named in any of Ancelotti’s matchday squads.
Everton thrashed Southampton 5-0 at St. Mary’s in his last outing, and will end the PL2 season at home to the Saints on Friday with the chance to move up to fifth in the table.
Everton offering Anderson a one-year extension seems a fair way for the Merseyside outfit to go, having seen the emerging talent begin to establish himself in Ancelotti’s plans to some degree but not yet witness the youngster make the step up to play in the first-team.
Having him around for at least another 12-months could see Anderson bridge the gap between the U23s and senior side or, if not, can send him out on loan in the summer or next January so that he can gain that first-team experience without cutting all ties prematurely.
Anderson’s career certainly seems to be heading in the right direction, too, which he credits Unsworth for helping him develop his positional awareness and ability to play out from the back.
“On the ball, I know I can play. I’ve worked hard on getting better defensively,” he told EvertonFC.com. “Unsy has helped me a lot in training on areas like my positional play and dealing with crosses.”
It now remains to be seen if Anderson is willing to stick around at Finch Farm in hopes of his breakthrough coming next season, or if Everton have left it too late to present him with a new deal and the interest emerging from the Football League has taken the lead.
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