By Will Butcher
Roma are looking to bring a centre-back to the Stadio Olimpico and have identified Ramiro Funes Mori as their number one target, according to a report.
The 25-year-old Everton centre-back made 28 appearances for the Toffees last year after ex-manager Roberto Martinez signed him from River Plate for around £9.5million.
Italian publication Gazzetta World claim that Roma are keen on an initial loan with a future option to buy the 13-time Argentina international.
The report says that the Serie A club are preparing an offer for Funes Mori but Everton manager Ronald Koeman wants to keep him.
This comes after Roma allowed Leandro Castan to join Serie A rivals Sampdoria, while Erkin Zukanovic has joined Atalanta on-loan.
Doubts still remain over Greek defender Kostas Manolas, who has been linked with a £37million to Europe’s heavyweights. In an interview with Roma’s website though, manager Luciano Spalletti revealed he is desperate to keep Manolas and has delivered a hands-off warning.
Koeman will be desperate to keep Funes Mori as centre-back partner John Stones continues to be linked with Manchester City.
Funes Mori, who also had a spell in with MLS side FC Dallas during his youth career, still has four years remaining on his Goodison Park deal, after signing a five-year contract last summer.
If Roma fail in their pursuit of Funes Mori, they have lined up Hoffenheim’s Niklas Sule and Benfica’s Victor Lindelof to solve their centre-back crisis.
Despite having a large transfer kitty available to him, manager Ronald Koeman has made just one first-team addition this summer, with the signing of former Roma goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg.
In other Everton transfer news, this Ajax forward has been linked with a £29.2million move to Goodison Park.