Earlier this month, Everton appointed Kevin Reeves as the Club's new chief scout. Alex Sutch looks into the former Norwich and Manchester City striker's past successes as he begins life at Goodison Park...
As a chief scout, Kevin Reeves has unearthed several gems currently plying their trade in the Premier League.
A forward who made over 300 league appearances in spells at Bournemouth, Norwich, Manchester City and Burnley, Reeves also earned recognition at international level during his playing days, picking up two senior caps for England.
He later turned to coaching and linked up with his former Canaries boss John Bond at Burnley and Birmingham before acting as an assistant manager to Bryan Flynn at both Wrexham and Swansea City.
But it was Roberto Martinez's decision to take him back to the Liberty Stadium which led to a new role for Reeves and the creation of a dossier of talent from which the Spaniard could take his pick.
For Swansea, Reeves was behind the signings of Angel Rangel, Ashley Williams and Nathan Dyer, while at Wigan his input led to the captures of James McCarthy, James McArthur and Arouna Kone, who spent a year with the Latics before his switch to Everton earlier this month.
His scouting of Rangel, Williams and Dyer is made all the more remarkable by the fact that all three are now established top-flight players, something that was certainly not the case, nor particularly predictable, when they were spotted and subsequently signed by the Swans.
Rangel was picked up by Reeves completely by chance. He was in Spain in the summer of 2007 to watch the then Benidorm centre-forward Jorge Molina, a player now of Real Betis and someone who may well line up against Everton in their friendly at Goodison Park on Sunday 11 August.
Deciding to take in another game while on his mission, Reeves spotted Rangel, a right-back, playing for Terrassa in the Spanish lower leagues and in July that year he transferred to South Wales for a nominal fee.
Swansea were leading the way in the League One table by the following March when Ashley Williams was signed on loan from Stockport County, before he completed a permanent move later that year during the summer transfer window.
Williams, a centre half, had been a product of West Bromwich Albion’s youth system, but was released at the age of 16 before a spell with non-league Hednesford Town. He moved to League Two outfit Stockport County in 2003 and later became club captain before Reeves outlined his potential to Martinez.
Five years on, Williams is the skipper of his country, Wales, and has this summer been linked with a £12millon move to clubs including Arsenal, Liverpool and Everton.
After Swansea’s promotion to the Championship, Reeves was tasked with finding players with pace and a search for speed ensued. He returned from his scouting trip to recommend a Southampton reserves winger named Nathan Dyer.
Dyer had struggled to secure a place in the Saints’ first team and in January 2009 he made a loan move to Swansea until the end of the season. The switch was a success and in the June of that year he completed a permanent transfer.
All three played key roles in the Swans’ promotion to the Premier League in 2011 and they remain regular first-team players - something which is a testament to Reeves’ ability to find a diamond in the rough.
Following Martinez’s departure from Swansea to take up the managerial post at Wigan Athletic in June 2009, Reeves followed.
He continued his sterling work, discovering two players plying their trade in Scotland. Though already a target for a number of top clubs, he aided Martinez in the signing of midfielder James McCarthy from Hamilton Academical in July 2009. James McArthur, a Hamilton teammate, followed a year later.
McCarthy had made his senior debut in 2006 as a 15-year-old and he had just won the SPFA Young Player of the Year award for the 2008/09 season when he arrived at Wigan. Both he and McArthur were members of the Latics’ side that defeated Manchester City in the FA Cup Final at Wembley earlier this year.
The duo had previously been part of the Accies side who were promoted to the Scottish Premier League following their First Division title triumph in 2008 and between them they have gone on to make over 200 appearances for their current employers.
And then there was Kone. Signed from Spanish side Levante, Reeves helped Martinez decide the much-travelled front man was ready for a shot at the Premier League. He settled immediately and went on to score 13 goals in 38 appearances for the Latics, before becoming our new No.9 early on in June.
Fans will hope the Ivorian becomes a new hero of the Gwladys Street. For Reeves the challenge is to ensure there are more queued up behind him. That search begins now.