Carlo Ancelotti is expected to give Everton the green light to work on signing Djibril Sidibe on a permanent deal, Football Insider understands.
The Merseysiders have the option to buy the Monaco defender at the end of his loan spell for a fee of around £12million.
An Everton source has told Football Insider that Ancelotti has been won over by the right-back, 27, and believes he is worth signing on a full-time basis.
Any deal would depend on Everton agreeing terms with the France international as well as meeting the stipulations of the loan-to-buy contract settled with his parent club Monaco.
At this stage, the Premier League club are in pole position, just as they were when converting Andre Gomes’ loan from Barcelona into a permanent deal at the end of last season.
Ancelotti has some big decisions to make a right-back in the coming months with Seamus Coleman no longer a nailed-on starter and Jonjoe Kenny due to return at the end of the campaign following an impressive loan spell at Schalke.
Sidibe, who turns 28 at the end of July, has emerged during the Italian manager’s reign as first choice on the right side of defence.
He has started 15 of Everton’s last 18 Premier League matches and has now appeared 20 times in all competitions for the club.
Tellingly, the attack-minded right-back sits second in the team’s list of Premier League assist makers this season.
He has five assists from his 20 games, four of them in league matches, and is also increasingly solid defensively.
Coleman, 31, has made 13 league starts among 20 appearances this season but is no longer a first choice.