By Danny Wright
Everton are keeping tabs on Middlesbrough midfielder Marten De Roon as a potential long-term replacement for Gareth Barry.
The Daily Mail claims that Boro are looking to make a healthy profit on the proven Premier League performer after they signed him from Serie A club Atalanta for £12million last summer.
De Roon has already been hailed by Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho, who was quoted by the Metro as saying he was “phenomenal” in his performance against his side in March and it is understood that Everton sent their scouts to watch the 26-year-old play against Chelsea on Monday night.
Although Middlesbrough’s relegation to the Championship was confirmed as they lost 3-0 at Stamford Bridge, De Roon has arguably been one of the stand-out players in what has been a poor season for the North-East club.
The one-time Netherlands international has made 34 appearances for Boro in all competitions since his move last summer and scored five goals.
It is understood that Everton are on the look-out for new midfielders in the summer as 36-year-old Barry is not getting any younger and Ross Barkley is ready to leave Goodison Park.
James McCarthy is being tracked by newly-promoted Newcastle while Youri Tielemens, Leo Dendoncker and Davy Klaassen have all emerged as possible summer recruits for the Toffees.
Football Insider Verdict
De Roon has without doubt been one of Middlesbrough’s best players this season and could play a good back-up role for a team like Everton. However he is nowhere near as good as some of the other names that are being tracked by Ronald Koeman at the moment. Tielemens, Dendoncker and Klaassen are all better quality players and can all play in similar positions to De Roon. The Boro man has been utilised as more of a playmaker this season, but he has been used as a defensive midfield before his move to the Riverside. If Everton want to play him back in that role, alongside Idrissa Gueye, then they could create a very solid midfield. But for more than £12million, it doesn’t seem like it would be a good buy.