After spending the bulk of the summer fending off fat cat interest in their star defenders, Everton have just a few months of relief before another assault on their backline begins.
Chelsea, who made four unsuccessful bids to sign John Stones in the previous transfer window, will reportedly rekindle their interest in the England international in January.
Not only this, but Paris Saint-Germain have allegedly refused to give up hope of signing right-back Seamus Coleman too and Les Rouges et Bleus will also be on the phone to Goodison Park during the winter.
The pair are both in possession of substantial quality, but it’s questionable whether their defensive exploits at Everton warrant this high-profile attention.
Hardly renowned for their watertight backline, the Toffees have twice conceded two goals on their own patch this term and leaked three at League One’s Barnsley in the Capital One Cup.
Last time around, eight teams conceded fewer than the 50 they allowed in the Premier League, though difference of three goals divided them from the fourth worst defence in the division.
Conceding 50 goals over a season is far from condemnable, but when half of the rearguard is worth in excess of £50m, a sum Stones and Coleman combined would undoubtedly surpass, it seems they should be performing better.
On top of this, the exploits of those big-money defenders lured away from the blue half of Merseyside must serve as sufficient warning that these two aren’t worth the money.
Manchester City paid £22m to sign Joleon Lescott from the club in 2009.
His career at the Etihad started off successfully, though he can only claim to have been a first-team regular in the title-winning 2011/12 edition.
In the immediate aftermath of that season, he lost his place to Matija Nastasic, whose short spell at the Etihad and subsequent banishing to the Bundesliga is indicative of his lacking in ability.
Lescott eventually left the club for nothing in the summer of 2014, as City wrote off the enormous sum they paid to sign him.
Jack Rodwell is another Everton stopper who the Citizens have had their fingers burned with.
A centre-back whose elegance in possession and lack of defensive prowess saw him recalibrated into a midfielder, the current Sunderland man was regarded as one of the best young English anchormen in his Goodison Park days.
City signed him for £12m, started him seven times in the league and sold him to the Black Cats at the earliest opportunity as he failed to develop into the all-conquering holding-midfielder the early signs at Everton promised he would.