Everton look to have made Jamaal Lascelles their number one defensive target but face a battle to land the defender as the clock ticks down towards the transfer deadline.
Lascelles has been on Everton’s radar for most of the summer but with Newcastle reluctant to sell the Toffees have pursued other targets.
Barcelona’s Yerry Mina looked to be top of their shopping list but it seems the Colombia defender favours a move to Manchester United. United’s Marcos Rojo has also been linked with a move to Goodison but the Argentine’s wages are believed to be a stumbling block.
That leaves Lascelles and Middlesbrough’s Ben Gibson as alternatives for Marco Silva. But with Burnley making a move for Gibson, the Northern Echo reports that Everton will now go all in for Lascelles ahead of the deadline.
The report claims that the Toffees are preparing a £30m bid for the 24-year-old, who joined Newcastle from Nottingham Forest four years ago in a joint deal with Karl Darlow worth £7m. That bid is likely to be rejected as the Magpies are believed to value Lascelles in the region of £50m.
However, Everton must be encouraged by the current turmoil on Tyneside that has put manager Rafael Benitez at odds with the board and in-particular chairman Mike Ashley.
Ashley has always been reluctant to back his managers in the transfer market and Benitez is no exception. The Spaniard is entering the final year of his contract at St James’ Park and is refusing to sign a new deal until he feels he is receiving the full backing of the board when it comes to transfers.
As a result Everton may well be able to go above Benitez’s ahead and present a bid to Ashley that he will be unable to resist. The man loves a profit, simple as.
With other targets falling by the wayside Everton have little wriggle room as the days fall away ahead of Thursday’s deadline. But given Lascelles would go a long way to addressing the glaring deficiencies in Everton’s defence, this looks a deal well worth pursuing.