By Amir Mir

Everton have identified Anderlecht centre-back Kara Mbodji as a defensive target, according to a report.

The Daily Mail claim manager Ronald Koeman is keen to bolster his defence with the Senegal international, who has a £6.2 million release clause in his contract which expires on August 5.

It is said the club’s new director of football Steve Walsh considered Mbodji while at his previous club Leicester, where he was lauded for his transfer dealings.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has confirmed his interest in centre-back John Stones, while experienced defender Phil Jagielka is out with a hamstring injury, which has forced the club to look for reinforcements.

Mbodji joined Anderlecht from Belgian rivals Genk in the summer of 2015 on a four-year deal, and after an impressive 32 appearances for the club, the 6ft 3ins centre-back is attracting interest from the Premier League.

It is said his Senegal coach Aliou Cisse has described the powerful defender as ‘the first name on the team sheet’ ahead of Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly who Everton have reported interest in after lodging a £46 million bid.

The Merseyside club are reportedly close to adding defensive cover to their team after Aston Villa midfielder Idrissa Gueye had a medical on Thursday afternoon.

After conceding 55 goals last term, recently appointed manager Koeman is keen to find the balance for the team as they search for European football.

In other Everton transfer news, midfield transfer target is on the verge of making a £7.4 million transfer.