Everton in two-horse PL race to sign £30m-rated centre-back - report
By Harvey Byrne
Everton are eyeing a summer move for Lazio defender Stefan de Vrij, according to a report.
The Daily Star have claimed that the Toffees are preparing for a two-horse battle with Premier League rivals Chelsea for the signature of the 25-year-old, rated at £30million.
The report also details that the Serie A side would prefer to sell De Vrij in the summer than let him walk away for free in 2018 after the 30-time Holland international turned down a new contract at the Italian side earlier in the month, leaving his future at the club in doubt.
Centre-back De Vrij played for current Everton boss Ronald Koeman for three years when the pair were at Feyenoord together between 2011 and 2014.
It is stated that a reunion with his old boss would be tempting for the player, but it is also believed that an offer of Champions League football from Chelsea could prove too hard to turn down.
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The Toffees could certainly offer the player some more pitch time with the experienced Phil Jagielka and Ashley Williams nearing the end of their careers.
But, Chelsea could be on their way to becoming a dominant force under Antonio Conte and De Vrij may be eager to become a part of their three-man defence.
Football Insider verdict:
Everton certainly have to improve on their back four, containing the aforementioned Williams, Jagielka and Argentina international Ramiro Funes Mori. De Vrij would be the type of player to help add to Koeman’s back line and he would come with the bonus of knowing how the Dutch manager likes his team to play and vice versa. The defender has already had a colourful career at 25, which includes playing a key part in Holland’s third place finish in the 2014 World Cup as well as finishing as runners-up in the Under-17 Championships in 2009. At £30million, it is likely he would take a huge chunk out of the expected summer budget, but he would certainly prove his worth in the years to come.
In other Everton transfer news, Liverpool are favourites to sign this Premier League ace despite reported Toffees offer.