Everton are set to raid Southampton at the end of the season for midfielder Jack Cork as Roberto Martinez looks to strengthen his squad for European competition.
Even if Everton do not reach Europe’s premier competition they are still in the driving seat to qualify for the Europa League and Martinez knows he will have to build a squad capable of fighting on four fronts next season.
Cork, who is out of contract at St Mary’s next summer, fits the Goodison Park bill and the Spanish boss is confident of luring the 24-year-old to Merseyside.
Everton believe a bid in the region of £3m could be enough to secure the services of the former Chelsea trainee and with just one year remaining on his current deal Saints could be forced to cash in or lose him on a free transfer next summer.
Mauricio Pochettino managed to hold firm in January when Swansea City targeted a move for the former TeamGB Olympian but with no new extension to his current contract on the south coast agreed, Southampton could be forced to cash in.
The Merseyside club could face competition for his signature from the likes of Crystal Palace and Fulham, while Swansea could re-enter the race for his signature should he be made available.
But Cork, who has made 30 appearances for Pochettino’s side this season, could be tempted by a move to Everton and the prospect of playing European football under Martinez at Goodison Park.
Reports also suggest Cork is not the only player the Toffees are keeping close tabs on this summer with Manchester United duo Tom Cleverley and Nick Powell, who is on loan at Martinez’s former club Wigan, also on a potential list of Everton transfer targets.
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