By Danny Wright
Everton are interested in signing Las Palmas defender Mauricio Lemos, according to a report.
Spanish news outlet Canarias7 reports that the Merseyside club will have to activate the enforcer’s £25.8million release clause to land their man.
Barcelona were interested in signing the 21-year-old in the summer but were put off by the release clause.
The five-time European champions made an original offer worth up to £10.4million with add-ons but were rejected as the Gran Canaria side look to exploit the player’s huge transfer clause that is tied into his contract.
Lemos, who has 14 under-20 caps for Uruguay, has been in and out of the Las Palmas side this season and has even staked a claim to play in the defensive midfield slot when he scored twice in the position against Espanyol earlier this month.
In total, Lemos has made 20 appearances for his club this season in all competitions and has scored four goals.
He’s created a reputation for scoring long-range efforts, which gives him an extra facet to his game.
Despite Everton’s impressive performances this season, fans are still worried about the centre-back pairing of Ashley Williams and Ramiro Funes Mori.
The duo came in for a lot of criticism after Ronald Koeman’s side lost to Tottenham in early March.
Football Insider Verdict
If Barcelona were put off by the staggering fee demanded for Lemos, then it’s likely that Everton will feel the same. Las Palmas, credit to them, look certain to stick to their guns and keep hold of their highly-rated centre-back as they look set to have another season in La Liga. Their defensive record hasn’t been incredible, but Lemos has only recently found himself getting consistent football in the side. In his appearances this season, Lemos has been on the pitch seven times when his side has conceded more than three goals, which doesn’t make great reading. Everton need one or two new central defenders but it’s unlikely that the Las Palmas player is the man they need.
In other Everton news, this 23-year-old has held crisis talks with his manager, and it isn’t Romelu Lukaku.