Swedish protégé Imam Jagne was one of the first young players to be
snapped up by Everton after their ban on such youth transfers expired in
2020. After starting life in The Gambia, his family moved to
Sweden when he was 5.
Everton completed a £1.3M deal with BK Häcken for the talented
teenager. He signed a 3-year contract and would be eligible to
play once his minor application was approved. Described as a "superkid"
who can operate across midfield, 17-year-old Jagne went straight into
David Unsworth's Under-23s side.
“Here at Everton, the environment is so good. They have let me know,
if I need anything, they are absolutely there for me.
“With how they’ve looked after me, the Club has made my family
comfortable back home. It is such a caring club, with very humble
"I do everything for my family. And if they are comfortable, then I
Speaking about the academy’s coaching staff, he said: “I feel like
the coaches believe in me so much. Unsy, Franny and John are brilliant.
If there is anything I don’t understand, I know I can go to them
directly and ask them.
“I just want to learn as much as I can from them and my teammates. I
am more than convinced I made the right decision to come to Everton.”
Indeed early on, David Unsworth was full of expectation for him:
"I'd seen enough to form an opinion of him but obviously the
recruitment department doing the bulk of the work. He's a great guy.
"He's a great learner. He's very coachable and I'm looking forward to
working with him for the next couple of years."
"I'd say when he develops and matures he will be more of a box-to-box
midfielder. He's got great energy and you don't want to bog him down
into a holding midfield role.
"I think he can play in all of the midfield roles centrally; in a
two, he can hold, and he can play wide of the three. There's loads and
loads of development in there and he's certainly one for the future."
But things did not develop along the expected upward trajectory – far
from it as he was sitting on the subs bench and unable to impress at all
in short stints at the end of games.
Far worse was to follow as he was dropped entirely from the U23 squad
and put back down amongst his contemporaries in the U18 squad at the turn
of the year, raising serious questions about Everton's scouting acumen
and the validity of that "superkid" tag, with Transfermarkt valuing him
at only £90,000.
After getting 5 starts at that level, but only completing one game
without being substituted, he was further relegated to the U18s subs
bench for a spell in what turned out to be quite a traumatic first
season with the Everton Academy.
At least he got to play more games in his second season, but they
would all be at U18 level, with no risk taken to try him again in the
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