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Everton: Rafael Benitez eyes Mario Hermoso

Everton: Rafael Benitez eyes Mario Hermoso -Everton Transfer Rumours

Rafael Benitez has identified Atletico Madrid’s Mario Hermoso as a potential defensive target for Everton, according to Fichajes.

The lowdown

Atletico signed the 26-year-old from Espanyol ahead of the 2019/20 season for a fee of £22.5m and he has gone to make 61 appearances for Diego Simeone’s side.

He averaged two clearances, 1.8 tackles and 1.2 interceptions per game in La Liga last season (via WhoScored) as he played his part in Los Rojiblancos’ title triumph.

The 26-year-old is primarily a centre-half but was also used at left-back on seven occasions over the course of the campaign.

The latest

The report from Fichajes stated that any move for Hermoso won’t be ‘easy’ because Atletico aren’t under pressure to sell the player, although they would be willing to consider offers from the €35m (£29.6m) mark.

Everton are one of three Premier League clubs said to be in the frame for his signature. Benitez has been ‘following’ the 26-year-old closely and has wanted defensive reinforcements ‘from the first moment’ he took the reins at Goodison Park.

Aston Villa, who have a ‘significant sum of money to strengthen’ their squad following the £100m departure of Jack Grealish; and Arsenal, who have already signed Ben White this summer, are the other clubs mentioned as prospective suitors for Hermoso.

The verdict

Bringing in a top-quality centre-back could help to propel Everton up the table as they seek to improve upon the tally of 48 league goals conceded from last term.

Hermoso, a title winner last season with Atletico, would appear to be an excellent addition and is a player who still has plenty of years left at the top level while also coming into his peak now. His tackling record in 2020/21 matched that of Ben Godfrey and was twice as good as Yerry Mina’s, while only four Toffees players bettered his interceptions per game average (WhoScored).

Everton have ‘next to no wiggle room’ when it comes to Financial Fair Play after years of ‘significant losses’, but they also have an abundance of deadwood. Clearing it could enable a balancing of the books and help to facilitate prospective new signings such as Hermoso, but that is of course easier said than done.

In other news, many Everton fans were left raging by this transfer update

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Article title: Everton: Rafael Benitez eyes Mario Hermoso

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