Everton boss Roberto Martinez has today stressed the Toffees have not made a bid for Manchester United centre-back Jonny Evans, with Sky Sports insinuating the Northern Irishman is not among his targets.
Improving in defence is a necessity for the Merseyside outfit this summer, especially if they are to usurp mammoth odds of 12/1 to land an elusive top four finish.
So with last season’s centre-back support acts Sylvain Distin and Antolin Alcaraz told to pursue their burgeoning comedy careers elsewhere, leaving only Phil Jagielka and John Stones (for whom Chelsea recently had a £20m bid rejected) to man the rearguard, why are they not in the hunt for Evans?
It would appear he doesn’t figure too prominently in Louis van Gaal’s plans, with competitors Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo firm favourites of a manager who is still in the market for a world-class centre-back.
As demonstrated through his fielding of juniors Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair, the Dutchman is also a proud advocate of handing young players opportunities in the first team.
Sticking to this philosophy will be tough with Evans, the centre-back he plans to buy and the aforementioned trio all vying for starts.
The Old Trafford exit door beckons for the former and when his Red Devil predecessors have been in similar positions in the past, Everton have been quick to capitalise.
With the exception of Darron Gibson, the bulk of the players to swap the Theatre of Dreams for Goodison Park across the Premier League era have prospered.
The Toffees got excellent bang for their buck with Tim Howard, Phil Neville, Louis Saha and Andrei Kanchelskis, whose efforts negating the frustration inflicted upon supporters from the likes of Gibson and Jesper Blomqvist.
It’s not just Everton’s excellent track record that should encourage them to move for Evans – six of the previous ten club and country games he participated in resulted in his side keeping a clean sheet.
Similarly, his 85.1% pass completion rate will see him well-suited to Martinez’s modus operandi.