One sought-after player on Ronald Koeman’s summer shopping list at Everton has been a left-sided defender.
As the Toffees prepare to open their Premier League season with a home clash against Stoke City, the Dutch coach appears ready to look to his former club Barcelona for the solution, in the form of a familiar face to the English top flight, ex-Arsenal centre-half and Belgium international, Thomas Vermaelen.
According to The Sun, new Blaugrana boss Ernesto Valverde is looking to ship out Vermaelen after his three year spell in the Catalan capital has been blighted by injury, and Koeman believes this will allow the Merseysiders to wrap up a cut-price deal for his services, a player of his description a necessity after losing Ramiro Funes-Mori to injury.
Meanwhile, Koeman is also looking to strengthen his attacking options, and whilst negotiations over a potential £5o million move for Swansea City’s Gylfi Sigurdsson drag on, Everton are ready to turn their attentions to another attacker regardless of whether or not they land the Icelander.
The rumoured target is another familiar face to English football fans, former Blackburn Rovers attacker Nikola Kalinic, who now plies his trade in Serie A with Tuscany club Fiorentina.
The 29-year-old Croatian netted 20 goals for La Viola last season, and has already seen a potential move to the big-spending Chinese Super League fall through earlier in the summer.
According to Sky Italia, Kalinic would be available for around £20 million and Everton are interested in acquiring his services as they seek out a replacement for the departed Romelu Lukaku, but the player is thought to favour a stay in Italy, with Fiorentina’s Serie A rivals AC Milan another interested party.
Finally, according to the Telegraph, Tottenhan Hotspur have set the price they are willing to shell out for Everton academy product Ross Barkley at £25 million, half of the Toffees’ initial valuation, amidst growing interest from London rivals Chelsea.
Barkley has not featured for Everton in pre-season following surgery on a groin problem, and has just one year left to run on his current contract, a situation which seems to have convinced Spurs chairman Daniel Levy that he can wrap up a cheap deal for the 23-year-old despite Everton’s lofty price-tag.
Ronald Koeman himself has previously hinted that the capped England international will be sold before the end of the transfer window, but it now may be a case of where he will go rather then when. Spurs look intent on sealing a cut-price move for the England midfielder, but their influence in any negotiations may now be at the mercy of what Chelsea are willing to offer, if an offer does indeed come from Stamford Bridge.
Losing out on Barkley would undoubtedly be a blow to Mauricio Pochettino, who is thought to have listed Barkley as a priority target this summer. The North Londoners are yet to make a signing this transfer window.