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Everton are reluctant to hand their French centre-half a new contract and the Premier League strugglers are prepared to offer him a two-year deal

By Greg Stobart

QPR manager Harry Redknapp is set to step up his pursuit of Everton centre-back Sylvain Distin in a bid to solve his side's defensive crisis.

The French centre-half, 35, has less than six months remaining on his current contract and although the Goodison Park club are keen to offer him a new contract, Redknapp is hopeful that the offer of a two-year deal will help him land a player he managed during his time at Portsmouth.

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Redknapp has also targeted Tottenham’s Michael Dawson, but with the England international now likely to remain at White Hart Lane the QPR manager is prepared to match Distin’s £50,000-a-week salary in an attempt to lure him to Loftus Road.

Everton, meanwhile, will turn their attentions to bringing Joleon Lescott back to Merseyside after a four-year absence.

The former Wolves defender, who left for Etihad Stadium in a controversial £24 million deal back in 2009, has fallen down Roberto Mancini’s pecking order following the summer arrival of Matija Nastasic.

Lescott, who has two years left to run on his £90,000-a-week deal, is unlikely to leave in January, however, with Kolo Toure having departed for the Africa Cup of Nations.

"Joleon Lescott has ruled out the possibility of any loan move during the January transfer window," read a statement released by the player’s agent on Saturday.

"Despite speculation linking him with several Premier League clubs, Joleon has no desire to leave Manchester City."

Lescott, who began his career at Wolves, has also emerged as a target for Premier League strugglers Aston Villa.

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