There is an air of inevitability about John Stones’ Everton exit, as news begins to circulate that Chelsea will return with a third bid for the England centre-back.
Both of the previous Blues offers have been rebuffed thus far, but as the Londoners continue to increase their negotiations it seems only a matter of time before they land their man.
When the move does materialise, Roberto Martinez will need to act quickly to land a replacement before the transfer window closes, and it looks as though the Spaniard has settled on his preferred target.
AC Milan’s Colombian international Cristian Zapata has emerged as the man the Toffees have set their hearts on, with ESPN reporting that the Merseyside outfit have placed the 28-year-old at the top of their shopping list.
The Toffees are reportedly in the market for a new centre-back anyway, having seen both Sylvain Distin and Antolin Alcaraz leave the club this summer and the South American, who has been at the San Siro since 2012, is believed to be the ideal recruit.
Versatile Zapata, who can also play at right-back, would bring vast experience with him should he join Martinez at Goodison park, having played 34 times for his country and taking in stints at Udinese and Villarreal before his AC Milan move.
With the Padilla native entering into the final year of his contract and rarely seeing the starting XI for the Rossoneri, behind defensive regulars like Alex, Philippe Mexes and Gabriel Paletta, a deal for the defender shouldn’t be too difficult to thrash out.
Following a last-gasp equaliser against newly promoted Watford on the opening day of the new season, Everton travel to Southampton for their next assignment, rated as 3/1 chances to win the game by Ladbrokes.
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