By Noel Whelan

19th Sep, 2021 | 12:10pm

Everton tipped to sign 'next Van Dijk' in January after source's reveal - pundit

Noel Whelan has backed Everton to sign a world-class centre-back in January.

The former Leeds United hitman, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, reacted to the latest out of Goodison.

On 16 September, Football Insider revealed Rafael Benitez’s transfer priority at Everton going into January is to sign a top centre-back.

A Toffees source has updated to tell this site Benitez wants the “next Van Dijk” as he eyes a top-class operator to lead his back line.

Whelan insists this is the right move from the new Goodison manager.

“Everton are sorted in some areas,” Whelan told Football Insider correspondent Ben Wild.

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There’s have a real good defensive midfield player there in Allan. They also have the striker position sorted with Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and Rondon coming in.

“They got the wingers in Gray and Townsend as well so those areas are sorted. Yes, they did buy some new defenders under Ancelotti.

“But when you look at it, you think that one centre half could be the missing jigsaw piece.

“Look at Liverpool with Van Dijk, Man United with Maguire, City with Dias.

“A player like that can really make the difference. That leadership and quality as a centre half can win you matches.

“That is definitely the right area to improve if you are Everton.”

Everton lost 3-0 to Aston Villa on Saturday evening as Benitez suffered his first loss in his new job.

The Blues are next in action against QPR on Tuesday.

In other news, Kieran Maguire: Everton in line for ‘huge’ windfall as £218m deal in pipeline.