Everton: Ashley Williams latest; Lukaku's Chelsea stance; Stones deal drags on

New Everton boss Ronald Koeman was able to add to his defensive options at Goodison Park yesterday with the £7.1million signing of defensive midfielder Idrissa Gueye from Aston Villa.

Now, the Dutchman’s attention has turned to strengthening his central defence at Everton, and the Toffees had tabled a bid of £10million for Swansea City skipper and Wales international Ashley Williams.

 

This initial bid for the 31-year-old according to the Liverpool Echo was however rejected by the Swans, with the South Wales club reluctant to part ways with their captain. The onus is now on Williams and Everton to attempt to force through a move and the new majority stakeholder at the Merseyside club Farhad Moshiri may be tempted to support Koeman with an improved offer for the defender, with the new boss desperate to add to his defensive options with only three fit senior centre-halves at the club including wantaway John Stones.

Elsewhere, the London Evening Standard http://www.standard.co.uk/sport/football/chelsea-transfer-news-antonio-conte-drops-hint-that-romelu-lukaku-signing-is-imminent-and-rules-out-a3310531.html reports that Antonio Conte and Chelsea are preparing a final offer of roughly £60 million in an attempt to bring Belgium forward Romelu Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge, with Chelsea also willing to send Loic Remy in the opposite direction as part of the deal to convince the Toffees to budge.

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The Standard’s reckoning is that Everton were looking for a fee in the region of £75 million, but the inclusion of Remy as part of any transfer may just be enough to force The Toffees’ hand. A ready-made replacement would be coming into the club and would potentially save Everton a frantic few weeks in the transfer market to recruit another goalscorer, with the Toffees already short on other attacking options.

 

Although Remy has not lit the touch paper alight at Chelsea, he has shown glimpses of his goal-scoring pedigree with former clubs QPR and Newcastle United, and with regular football under his belt at Everton may just be able to get back on the score-sheet more regularly.

Another deal Everton are digging their heels in is that of John Stones’ seemingly inevitable transfer to Manchester City, with another approach for 22-year-old England international defender being rebuffed. The Mirror‘s  reckoning is that the Merseyside club are demanding £50 million for any sale of their young star, however there is thought to be a disagreement with City over such a valuation of the player, with the Citizens having tabled an offer of £40 million already which Everton refused to accept.

 

The option of a cash-plus-player deal with Wilfried Bony joining the ranks at Goodison has also been ruled out, but City boss Pep Guardiola remains optimistic a deal can be agreed before the start of the season.

If City were to cave in and match Everton’s price tag, Stones would surpass the £49 million spent on his England and potentially Man City team-mate Raheem Sterling to become the most expensive English player of all time. As they did with Chelsea last season, Everton are refusing to lose out on their asset and it will take more negotiating from the Etihad club if they are to prise the young Yorkshireman away from Goodison Park, and this transfer saga subsequently rumbles on.

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