Everton have a bargain if signing Ligue 1 defender for under £5m

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Arsenal have already had success when it comes to boosting their defensive options with a recruit from French Ligue 1 outfit Lorient and Everton could be in line to follow suit if successful in their pursuit of Bruno Ecuele Manga.

Laurent Koscielny has been a big hit at the Emirates and the quality of his performances last season, especially alongside Per Mertesacker in the latter half of the campaign, have resulted in lots of interest in his signature this summer.

Bayern Munich and Barcelona are just two clubs linked with Koscielny and Arsene Wenger may have some difficulty keeping the Frenchman in north London.

Roberto Martinez is now also optimistic that raiding Lorient for a defender is a wise move as his first bit of transfer business since replacing David Moyes.

Martinez is thought to be mulling over a £4.5m bid for Gabon centre-half Ecuele Manga, as he attempts to strengthen his own defensive options.

The 24-year-old was one of the best defenders in Ligue 1 two years ago, leading the division in terms of winning the most aerial duels per game and also shining in departments including tackle success, interceptions and clearances.

However, a knee injury on the opening day of last season kept him out for the first half of the campaign and he mainly used the second half to regain his match sharpness.

A move to Marseille looked to be on the cards this summer, although reports from France indicate that they were given an asking price of more than double the sum that Everton are considering offering.

With Johnny Heitinga’s standards dipping slightly last season and Sylvain Distin closing in on retirement, Ecuele Manga would be a worthy addition to an Everton squad that will have aspirations of challenging for a top-four spot again this season.

Everton are 20/1 to finish in the top four this season.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publication

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.