Everton have taken Port Vale's highly-rated striker James Lawrie on trial while manager David Moyes has confirmed he is also searching for defensive cover.
Moyes is in Seattle with his squad preparing for Sunday's prestige friendly against Argentinian giants River Plate which will be played in Edmonton, Canada.
But the lack of numbers in his squad is clearly worrying Moyes, who has major injury problems still to be resolved over Mikel Arteta, Ayegbeni Yakubu, Phil Jagielka and Victor Anichebe, none of whom will be fit to start the season.
Lawrie, 18, already capped at senior level by Northern Ireland, does not fall into the category of first-team squad potential yet.
He will be assessed over the next few days with a possible decision on a transfer not likely until next week.
Lawrie was involved in 26 games for Vale last season, the vast majority as a substitute, and is rated one of the best youth products at the Potteries club for many years.
He made his international debut last month as a substitute against Italy, and Vale chairman Bill Bratt said: "Everton asked if they can have James for a week to see whether they would be interested. We cannot stand in his way and we wouldn't want to.
"Every young footballer wants to play in as high a level as possible, so he goes with our blessing and, hopefully, the lad will make it.
"He has come through the ranks here and done his best for Vale, but he has to look to his career. We have to understand that."
Lawrie could be one for the future, but Moyes has more pressing problems while still insisting he has no intention of selling Joleon Lescott to Manchester City. "We have got a decent team but we have a concern as we have only got two fit senior centre-backs at the club just now," Moyes said.
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