Arsenal are reportedly monitoring Everton 'teen sensation' Ryan Astley and have been tipped to potentially poach the defender as the Toffees are yet to tie him to a professional contract.

A story from the Daily Mirror claims that the Gunners are aware that 16-year-old Astley, who made his debut for Everton's Under-23 team in March, remains on scholarship terms.

The Welsh centre-back is due to turn 17 years of age on 4th October, at which point Everton would likely try and secure his immediate future with a first professional deal.

Until any terms are signed, however, Everton could remain vulnerable to Astley being poached by Arsenal as he makes the transition from academy life to the professional game.

Arsenal would of course only be successful should Astley actually want to leave Everton.

The teenager is highly thought of at Merseyside, with the Mirror report quoting the club's Under-23 boss David Unsworth after Astley's debut at that level.


"I can't remember an Under-16 coming in and starting a game at his level since I've been here, but I thought he was the best player on the pitch. It was a stunning performance," Unsworth said.

Everton have a reputation as one of the best developers of young talent in the country. It was famously their academy that produced Wayne Rooney, while homegrown players such as Tom Davies and Jonjoe Kenny have become part of the first team, as have talented players brought in at a young age from other clubs, like Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Mason Holgate.