Everton are weighing up a big-money move for Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha this month – and will intensify their efforts to sign a new left-back before the end of the month.
New Blues boss Marco Silva is looking to add to his squad ahead of the new season having made a low-key start to life at Goodison Park.
Silva replaced Sam Allardyce as manager last month, but is yet to make a first-team signing with new director of football Marcel Brands leading the recruitment drive.
Brands is aware of the need to trim the Blues’ squad, with as many as eight players likely to leave before the transfer window closes next month. Silva, though, is keen to add at least four new faces as he prepares for his first season in charge on Merseyside.
Zaha would be seen as a marquee signing, and one which would likely threaten Everton’s transfer record, the £45 million ($51m) capture of Gylfi Sigurdsson from Swansea last summer.
The Ivory Coast winger is understood to be open to the idea of leaving Palace, who would demand around £50m ($65m). Everton, though, believe they would face strong competition from the likes of Tottenham, Borussia Dortmund and even Liverpool if they were to open negotiations. Zaha scored nine times for the Eagles last season, equalling his best ever campaign as a professional.
Goal can also reveal that Everton have no fewer than six names on their shortlist for the left-back position, which was a problem for the club throughout last season.
Celtic’s Kieran Tierney was their top target, but the Scottish champions are keen to keep their home-grown prospect and have slapped a £25m ($32m) valuation on the 21-year-old in a bid to ward off potential suitors.
That has led Everton to weigh up alternatives, with Lazio’s Belgian international Jordan Lukaku, Hertha Berlin’s Marvin Plattenhardt and Inter Milan’s Dalbert Henrique all under consideration.
So too is another Barcelona defender, Lucas Digne, and Rennes’ Ramy Bensebaini. Brands has held talks with numerous clubs and agents as he looks to solve a problem position.
As it stands, Leighton Baines remains Everton’s only senior left-back option, and the former England man turns 34 in December. Baines has also been linked with a move, with MLS side Portland Timbers understood to be interested in luring him to the United States.
Silva is also keen on recruiting a dominant central midfielder and at least one attacker. He would be interested in Watford duo Abdoulaye Doucoure and Richarlison, though those moves are complicated by the manner of his departure from the Hornets earlier this year.
In terms of outgoings, Everton have sold Wayne Rooney to DC United and Ramiro Funes Mori to Villarreal while allowing Joel Robles to leave on a free transfer. They have loaned Luke Garbutt to Oxford United and will consider offers for Kevin Mirallas, Ashley Williams, Davy Klaassen, Sandro Ramirez, Oumar Niasse and Morgan Schneiderlin. Yannick Bolasie and Cuco Martina could also be on their way out.
Everton play their first game of the Silva era on Saturday, taking on Austrian side ATV Irdning.