Everton target Michael Keane and Mauricio Lemos as Ronald Koeman looks for defensive solidity

Everton want to improve their centre of defence which could lead to a brand new, younger, centre-half pairing

Everton target Michael Keane and Mauricio Lemos as Ronald Koeman looks for defensive solidity
Michael Keane (left) battles for the ball with Ashley Williams (right) Photo: Getty Images

Everton are set to chase a number of defensive players this summer with Burnley’s Michael Keane and Las Palmas Mauricio Lemos being their top targets. 

Keane, 24, has been Ronald Koeman’s number one target since January and tried to no avail to sign the England centre-back during the winter window. A move never materialised and Keane had been tipped to return to Manchester United this summer.

With Jose Mourinho’s team going in a different direction, it has seemingly opened up the possibility of Keane once again swapping Turf Moor for Goodison Park. 

The England international only has 12 months left on his contract with the Clarets but would still cost between £20 and £25 million pounds. 

Lemos, 21, is a Uruguayan centre-half that has drawn attention thanks to his performances with Las Palmas in the Spanish La Liga. He is reportedly Everton’s backup plan if they cannot secure Keane and reports from Spain have suggested that the Blues have already been given an acceptable fee that they could take to the Gran Canaria based side that would secure his services.

Both targets continue Everton’s theme of targeting youthful players who can also make an instant impact on their first team. 

The Blues want to get younger in their central defensive area as club captain Phil Jagielka will be 35 next season and Ashley Williams will be 33. 

It also casts doubt on the future of Ramiro Funes Mori who has been unable to cement a first team spot under Koeman. 

A number of defensive targets

Everton currently have five first team players that can play centre-half but it is being treated as a key area of improvement for this summer. 

Last summer, the Blues attempted to bring Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly to Goodison Park and offered close to £60 million pounds for the Senegalese international but had their advances spurned by the Naples side.

It has been a key focus from Koeman and Director of Football Steve Walsh to improve the defensive base of the squad after the mess it was left in following the time of Roberto Martinez as Everton boss. 

With Everton aiming to compete on multiple fronts next season, they will have to bolster the numbers in defence but be wary of also securing quality players. 

Keane aimed a number of rave reviews for his performances in the Premier League last season as he helped Burnley maintain survival. He has reportedly been of interest to Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City but it is Koeman who is set to turn his interest into a move for the centre-half. 

Summer targets resemble a youth movement

With both Keane and Lemos being reasonably young, they fit the model for what seems to be Everton’s summer transfer policy. The Blues are aiming to make their squad reasonably younger whilst also targeting quality players. 

The Blues have already agreed a £30 million pounds fee for Sunderland’s Jordan Pickford, 23, and the England U21 international has also reportedly undergone a medical whilst in Poland to push through the deal. 

Everton are also closing in on Ajax’s Davy Klaassen, 24, who is set to cost them somewhere in the region of £24 million pounds. 

Everton FC