Everton: Speculation concerning Southampton defender continues; Championship defender linked
Ronald Koeman has always been aware of the need to strengthen at Everton, but never more so than after this weekend as the Toffees slipped to a disappointing 1-0 defeat to his former club Southampton at St. Mary’s. The Toffees were out-gunned, out-manoeuvred and at times out-matched by Claude Puel’s Saints, to record third loss in five, yet that hasn’t gone by without fueling speculation that Koeman could pull off a subsequent raid on his former club to aid his own cause in January.
One standout performer for Southampton on the day, who has an emotional tie to the Everton boss is compatriot Virgil Van Dijk. Koeman is thought to have sought out a world-class centre-half ever since losing John Stones to Manchester City, and Van Dijk, who Koeman brought to Southampton from Celtic back in 2014, could well be a realistic target being lined-up for the Toffees, according to the Daily Mirror.
The Mirror’s reckoning is that both Manchester clubs and Merseyside rivals Liverpool are known admirers of the Dutch international, but Koeman is particularly keen to renew a working relationship with the defender despite Saints refusing to budge on their £40million asking price. Koeman has recently emphasised the need however to stifle the attacking qualities of other teams, and a new recruit like Van Dijk in the perfect mould to do so, would surely be a worthy investment.
It would take a monumental bid if there is any substance to the interest of bigger clubs, but Van Dijk’s previous relationship with Koeman may help tip the scales in Everton’s favour.
There’s more coming from the Mirror regarding potential January transfer business though, and this time it concerns a player and club one rung down the echelons of the football pyramid.
19-year-old centre-half Joe Worrall has been a recent revelation at Championship club Nottingham Forest having broken into their first team, and after a string of assured performances and four starts to his name, he is thought to have attracted interest from the Toffees, as well as Premier League rivals Stoke.
With Forest becoming something of a selling club having shifted Oliver Burke and Jamaal Lascelles off the books in recent seasons, they may be forced to cash in on yet another young prospect amidst continuing delays to a proposed takeover by a US consortium.
The youngster who has been tipped for future success enjoyed a spell out on loan at then League Two club Dagenham & Redbridge last season, and currently captains Forest’s U-23 side.
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