Despite missing out on a place in Europe, Everton have made a steady start in the transfer market. They have already roped in Jonas Lossl as an understudy to Jordan Pickford whereas an announcement is imminent for Andre Gomes who has been tied down permanently after impressing on loan last season.
The Toffees are now set to switch their focus elsewhere and have reportedly identified Diego Llorente as one of their prime transfer targets. According to Noticias De Gipuzkoa in Spain, Real Sociedad might listen to offers for the 25-year-old centre-half and Everton are one of the prime suitors having monitored his progress over the years.
The Spaniard has a €50m buyout clause in his contract, but the Txuri-urdinak would welcome offers in the region of €30m for their star defender. The Basque outfit finished 9th in the La Liga standings and therefore, are keen on rebuilding the squad to upgrade their display. But they must generate the cash first to invest in new names and are willing to let a few top performers depart to serve the purpose.
Llorente progressed through the youth ranks of Real Madrid before breaking into their senior side back in 2013. His minutes, however, were limited while representing the Spanish giants and a couple of impressive loaned stints with Rayo Vallecano and Malaga earned him a five-year deal at Anoeta.
The Blues had a towering central defensive duo of Michael Keane and Kurt Zouma who brought back resilience in the heart of their backline. But the latter has returned to his parent club Chelsea upon completion of a season-long loan spell whereas veteran Phil Jagielka announced his departure after 12 eventful years.
Yerry Mina, although promising, is yet to settle in since completing a high-profile move to Goodison from Barcelona and the Toffees thus require reinforcements to strengthen the defence ahead of the upcoming term.
Llorente is lauded for his sense of positioning, aerial domination and an exquisite passing technique from the deep. He is also capable of featuring as a right-back as well as a defensive midfielder banking on his blocking and tackling traits. The Spain international would add flexibility to Marco Silva’s set-up that showcased balance at both the ends of the pitch despite a nervy few months midway through the campaign. Everton are exhibiting enough intent to close the gap with the league’s ‘Big Six’ and the signing of the centre-back would boost them up in their challenge for a Europa League place.