Everton are believed to be in the hunt for Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz, according to Calcio Napoli 24.
However, the 23-year-old has also been linked with Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, as reported by the Daily Star.
Several other big clubs, including Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester United, are also said to be keen on the Spain international, according to The Express.
Ruiz joined the Serie A side in the summer of 2018 from Real Betis on a five-year deal for a reported €30million (£27million), his buyout clause, and has impressed for the Partenopei with 72 appearances for the club, including 32 this season.
He has been tipped to leave Napoli in the transfer window, and his agent, Alvaro Torres, admits he has kept contract talks on hold amid a tough campaign for the Partenopei.
“There are very important clubs that have asked for information, and we have already informed Napoli,” Torres added, as quoted by the Daily Star.
A high-calibre player with impressive vision, passing, ball control and dribbling skills, as well as versatility across midfield, Ruiz would be an ideal fit for an Everton side desperately needing more energy and quality.
Though Liverpool could be a tough opponent to vie against for his signature, Everton have the perfect individual to sell Goodison Park to him – Carlo Ancelotti.
In an interview with Radio Marca after his Napoli switch, as quoted by Football Italia, Ruiz said: “Ancelotti? He was fundamental to my transfer.
“He convinced me and told me he wanted me, then of course the club project was also decisive, not to mention the ambition.
“I was also lucky that Ancelotti and his assistant know Spanish, so I didn’t get left behind and I could understand his system of play.”
Ruiz is clearly very fond of the Italian coach and as such, the Everton project could be sold to him with the prospect of working with him again.
In terms of how much he could cost, The Express believe Liverpool are lining up a £74million move, so he wouldn’t be going cheap, but with such a class player potentially available, Everton should do all they can to beat their rivals to him.
Ruiz’s quality is summed up with these comments from a player who came up against him in the Europa League, Hoffenheim star Diadie Samassekou.
“That (hardest foe) was Fabian Ruiz of Napoli, even if he is perhaps not so well known,” Samassekou told Goal.
“It was incredibly difficult to defend against him because he is extremely agile and only ever needs two touches.
“I sometimes try to show my friends why it’s so hard to defend. I’ve played against a lot of good teams and players, but people will be talking a lot about Ruiz in the next few years.”