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Who is the Italian defender Everton are being linked with?

Atalanta’s Gianluca Mancini also being pursued by Arsenal and Dortmund

Atalanta BC v FC Internazionale - Serie A Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Reports in the Mirror from late yesterday say that Everton are the latest club to join in the chase for young Italian defender Gianluca Mancini. The 22-year-old, currently on Atalanta’s books, is no relation to the more famous Roberto Mancini.

Mancini has bounced around between Fiorentina and Perugia before joining Atalanta in 2017, where he has continued to make a name for himself on both ends of the pitch and has received a couple of call-ups to the national side as well but is yet to make his international debut. He has ten youth international caps having played for the Italy Under-21s for the first time in September 2017.

In two seasons with La Dea, he has racked up 6 goals in 30 games, five of them coming this season. He was not in the Atalanta squad that faced Everton twice last season in the Europa League, but played in three of the group games this season.

Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund were previously linked with interest in the player, and Italian sides Inter Milan and AS Roma have also been mentioned as being in the fray. Mancini’s current contract runs until 2023 but after his breakthrough season where he has grabbed the starting role, he is said to be reevaluating his options while Atalanta want to lock him down to a contract extension this summer.

In a scouting report from SoccerSouls, here is a good description of Mancini’s playing style -

Mancini is a modern-day centre-back blessed with fantastic pace, agility, athleticism and ball-playing abilities. He is capable of covering a lot of ground and initiating attacks from the back with his passing range.

The Italian is clinical, fearless, powerful and rarely gets flustered in pressure situations. Standing at 6ft 3in, the 22-year-old is bullish, strong, aerially dominant and also has the pace to make recovery tackles. Due to his towering frame, Mancini poses a huge threat from set-pieces as well; four goals and an assist in 11 games are a testament to his qualities.

Everton are currently in the process of rebuilding their defence with club captain Phil Jagielka likely in his last season with the Blues. Michael Keane and Yerry Mina have been signed permanently while Kurt Zouma has had a good loan spell from Chelsea so far and the Blues will look to add him to the rotation for next season on a permanent basis too.

From the youth perspective, Mason Holgate’s development appears to have stalled and his loan out to West Bromwich Albion for the rest of the season is a trial to see where he stands. Tyias Browning is on his way out and has no future with the Toffees while Morgan Feeney has been captaining the Under-23s but is yet to feature in a senior game this season.

Mancini looks to have all the assets to fit into not only Marco Silva’s system, but also appears to be exactly the kind of player Marcel Brands targets. The Blues will need four starting-calibre centrehalves on the books for next season, and the Italian would be a good addition to that mix.