By Pete O'Rourke

29th Jan, 2020 | 4:00pm

Exclusive: Brands opens talks over Everton new defender deal

Everton have opened talks with Mason Holgate over a new contract, Football Insider can reveal.

The 23-year-old defender has been targeted by multiple Premier League clubs but the Merseysiders made it clear earlier in the window they had no intention of letting him go.

An Everton source has told Football Insider that recruitment chief Marcel Brands has now started discussions with Holgate over a new and improved deal.

He has entered the final 18 months of his current agreement, which expires in the summer of 2022, and the club want to tie him for the long-term.

Brands is set to offer a major pay hike to fend off interest from Newcastle United, first revealed by Football Insider last week, as well as the likes of Bournemouth and Sheffield United.

He has been a regular starter in recent months and usurped Michael Keane as a first choice in the centre of defence.

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Predominantly a centre-back, Holgate can also play at right-back and he even slotted into the central midfield last month due to a series of injuries.

Everton previously valued the former England Under-21 international, who signed from Barnsley in the summer of 2015, at £14million but that has rocketed following his recent impressive form.


Holgate began this campaign on the bench as Marco Silva chose Yerry Mina and Keane as his first choice partnership in central defence.

But he’s now started 15 Premier League matches on the trot and is even in contention for England’s Euro 2020 squad.

In other Everton news, it can be REVEALED that the club have made an approach to sign £14m-valued Serie A star rejected by David Moyes.