George Hirst
Everton have long held an interest in Hirst. Reuters

Everton had a 'little bid' for Sheffield Wednesday striker George Hirst rejected by the Owls in the January transfer window, according to the Blues' chief youth scout Jamie Hoyland.

Everton have long been admirers of Hirst, an England Under-20 international, and attempted to lure him away from Hillsborough in the winter but Wednesday had no interest in parting with their highly-coveted attacker.

Hoyland was full of compliments for the 18-year-old son of Owls legend David Hirst and suggested that Ronald Koeman's side are still monitoring his progress, but he would not be drawn on whether Everton would return with a second offer this summer.

"We [Everton] were interested in him earlier on this season," Hoyland told Sheffield Live, relayed by The Liverpool Echo. "I'll admit it, we put a little bid in to Sheffield Wednesday (in January) but (they said) no way.

"Unfortunately for George, Wednesday have signed more and more centre forwards so it might be best to go and get some league football and develop in professional football, in the men's game.

"He's done fantastic for England any time I've seen him. Forty goals, it doesn't matter what you're doing, you're scoring 40 goals, so now you've left that behind you, your youth football, go and prosper now and show people what you can do in the real game."

Jonjoe Kenny
Everton are keen to add to their Under-23 ranks after the current crop won the Premier League 2 title. Getty

Everton have been busy refreshing their senior team in recent days - Davy Klaassen and Jordan Pickford both sealed switches to Goodison Park for a combined total of £54m - but they are also intent on bolstering their impressive Under-23 squad which won the Premier League 2 title last season.

Along with Hirst, Queens Park Rangers midfielder Josh Bowler is of interest to the Everton hierarchy and they will be encouraged by the 18-year-old's decision to reject a new deal at Loftus Road, as reported by Sky Sports.

The Blues have already had a bid believed to be worth £3m turned down by the west London outfit but are preparing a second offer. Newcastle United defender Lewis Gibson is also on Everton's radar.