Everton adding midfield steel with move for Villa’s top tackler

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Everton to finish in the top six

Everton are set to boost their defensive midfield options after the Merseysiders activated the release clause for Aston Villa’s Idrissa Gueye.

The Senelagese man was a rare highlight in a dismal campaign for the Villans, who plummeted out of the Premier League last season.

Only Leicester’s heroic N’Golo Kante produced more tackles and interceptions than Gueye last term, and new Everton boss Ronald Koeman is hoping to fend off competition from a number of French clubs for the 26-year-old’s signature.

Villa were keen on retaining the former Lille man, but Gueye is now free to talk to the Toffees in a deal which would be worth just over £7m.

Koeman and Everton have been quiet in the transfer window so far, but Gueye’s arrival could be first of a number of signings before deadline day.

Behind the scenes, the Goodison Park outfit made one of the best deals of the summer, snaring Leicester’s transfer guru Steve Walsh as Director of Football.

Walsh was pivotal in the Foxes signing many of their Premier League-winning stars, and a host of clubs were hoping to snap up his talents.

But Everton won the race, and with over a month still to go, Leicester’s former assistant manager and head of recruitment has plenty of time to improve their chances with a few more inspirational signings.

The signing of Gueye would certainly be a welcome one at Goodison, whose midfield was held together last term by 35-year-old Gareth Barry.

As hard as the former Aston Villa man tried, only the bottom five teams in last season’s table conceded more than Everton.

Goals weren’t the Toffees problem last season, and though the future of Romelu Lukaku remains shrouded in mystery, Koeman is setting about fixing their major weaknesses and that can only be positive news for Evertonians.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.