Everton are poised to take Southampton’s Jose Fonte, 29, to Goodison Park in a £9m deal.
The Toffees have opened negotiations over the centre back who was a key member of the parsimonious Portuguese defence in their triumphant Euro 2016 campaign.
New boss Ronald Koeman left the Saints earlier this summer and has been linked with a host of players but has only added Maarten Stekelenburg, 33, to his first team.
With Manchester City unrelenting in their pursuit of John Stones, 22, the Dutchman wants an experienced defender to replace the England centre back. Everton are continuing to hold out for a transfer fee in excess of £50m with reports emerging that City are becoming frustrated by their Premier League rivals intransigence.
Everton’s interest in Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly, 25, has waned following a £38m bid from Chelsea last week with the Italian club reluctant to sell at that price following the departure of Gonzalo Higuain, 28, to Juventus.
Koeman is struggling for long-term options in the heart of his back four and if the deal for Fonte falls through, he is prepared to look at a stop-gap option with Swansea’s Ashley Williams, 31, topping the list.
The Welsh international’s experience buys Koeman time as he seeks a younger defender to replace Stones. At 31, Williams has two more seasons of top flight football with the prospect of guiding less experienced players through the ranks.
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