Everton caught many by surprise on Wednesday (25 January) with the loan signing of Anton Donkor. The German youngster joins the Toffees from Bundesliga outfit Wolfsburg and will go straight into the club's Under-23 squad for the rest of the season. It is hoped that he will eventually become worthy of a place in Ronald Koeman's squad, which is already brimming with young talent.
The majority of Evertonians and indeed English football fans are not exactly clued up on the Gottingen-born attacker, which is completely understandable. The 19-year-old has never played for Wolfsburg's senior team and has only started once for the Wolves' reserve team in Regionalliga Nord, the fourth tier of German football. Donkor has made 12 appearances for Wolfsburg II this season, scoring once.
Despite most Toffees supporters scratching their heads about the promising left winger, who can play in a variety of attacking positions, Donkor has plied his trade in Merseyside before. The teenager featured for Wolfsburg's Under-23's as they beat Liverpool's youth team 2-1 in September and even scored against Leicester City's youngsters in his side's 3-0 victory at The King Power Stadium in October.
Blessed with immense physical power and speed, Donkor will have the opportunity to hone the technical side of his game under David Unsworth. The Everton youth coach is currently working wonders with the club's current crop of young starlets and has helped develop current first-team stars such as Mason Holgate and Tom Davies, who have rejuvenated Koeman's side in recent weeks.
Unsworth is currently in the process of shaking up his young squad as he bids to secure the Premier League 2 title. Callum Connolly and Gethin Jones have both left on loan, while Oumar Niasse, who spearheaded the Under-23s' attack on a number of occasions after being tossed aside by Koeman, has joined Hull City on a temporary basis. Donkor is seen as a replacement for the Senegalese forward and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who was promoted to the first-team before suffering a nasty ankle injury earlier this month.
Though it remains to be seen if the German Under-20 international, who was heavily linked with Aston Villa, can work his way up to the first-team at Goodison Park, he does seem to possess qualities that both Everton director of football Steve Walsh and Koeman are looking for in their widemen.
With great pace, a strong work ethic and enviable upper body strength - a trait not regularly found in a modern winger - Donkor seems to be cut from the same cloth as the sidelined Yannick Bolasie, who Everton paid around £25m for last summer, and Moussa Sissoko, who rejected the Merseysiders for Tottenham earlier this season.
Everton fans will also hope Donkor does not become another Eric Dier; the Tottenham lynchpin spent 18 months on loan as a teenager at Goodison Park but his deal was never made permanent and is now an integral part of one of the most exciting young sides in Europe.
But Donkor, who is represented by Soccertalents, the same agency used by Leicester forward Islam Slimani and Southampton's Nathan Redmond, is aware of the opportunity bestowed upon him and seems intent on making his mark at Goodison: "I'm very happy and grateful to be here, I know this is a great club and I like the way they play," Donkor told the club's official website. "I'm looking forward to challenging myself in English football.
"USM Finch Farm is an impressive place. The facilities are great and I'm looking forward to getting started here. I think I can learn from the good young players that are already here and hopefully we can be successful together."