Everton Director of Football Marcel Brands is keen for Mason Holgate to utilise the first-team opportunity now on the cards, after pricing the 22-year-old out of a move to West Bromwich Albion, according to the Birmingham Mail.
The Baggies were interested in securing a return to the Hawthorns for the 6 ft 1 defender, after he spent the latter half of last season on loan with the West Midlands outfit having struggled to establish himself in Marco Silva’s plans.
Slaven Bilic’s West Brom were not able to afford the asking price advertised to them by Brands, though, and instead looked to strengthen elsewhere with what resources they had on offer with Nathan Ferguson emerging from their academy.
Holgate is understood to have been very much up for sale at the right price, but Brands now wants to see him earn more regular minutes on Merseyside, with competition for places reduced from what he faced a year ago, when Chelsea loanee Kurt Zouma locked down one of the central defensive slots at Goodison Park.
Another centre-half was targeted in the summer window, while Yerry Mina is still trying to prove his worth to the club after Everton spent €30.25million (£27.19m) on him, but the Colombian and Michael Keane are the only two names ahead of Holgate’s on Silva’s depth chart.
The Birmingham Mail now quote Brands discussing why we did not sign another centre-back, with the Dutchman suggesting he saw no need to lower his expectations given the talent emerging at Finch Farm.
“We made a decision not to renew Phil Jagielka to give Mason Holgate more perspective for his future because he’s very talented,” our Director of Football said.
“If we spend money then we have to do it the right way. If you go lower than a certain level, then you should probably do nothing and go look at your own academy.
“There’s some players knocking on the door, but they have a long way to go and we have to give them an idea that there is something possible here at Everton.”