Everton have set their sights on Nottingham Forest defender Joe Worrall as they look to strengthen their defence in January, Football Insider can reveal.

The Merseysiders are in the market for a new centre-back to provide cover and competition for places.

An Everton source has told Football Insider that director of football Marcel Brands is leading the pursuit of Worrall and is keeping close tabs on him ahead of the winter window.

Brands is assessing the viability of signing the 22-year-old on a permanent deal rather than a loan switch.

This comes after Football Insider revealed that Arsenal are also on the trail of the defender and watched him help his side secure a clean sheet in their 4-0 Championship thrashing of QPR last night.

In addition, Everton would need to convince Forest to sell at a time when Worrall is integral to their promotion bid.

The former England Under-21 international has been outstanding this season for the east Midlands outfit, who have climbed to fourth in the Championship and have genuine promotion hopes this season.

Worrall is playing the best football of his career after slipping down the pecking order under former Forest managers Aitor Karanka and Mark Warburton.

He spent last season on loan at Glasgow Rangers, where he had a mixed season and was in and out of the starting XI.

The centre-back has been trusted by Sabri Lamouchi to play the full 90 minutes in all 17 of their Championship games in this campaign.

Everton’s defence has shipped 20 goals from 13 Premier League matches, with Michael Keane recently axed following a dreadful series of performances.

Yerry Mina and Mason Holgate are the current favoured pairing of Marco Silva.

In other Arsenal news, it can be REVEALED that the club are in talks with northern club over January transfer as agreement is close.