Are Everton set to get their gloves on heroic Portugal keeper?
While Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani and Eder stole the headlines as Portugal won their first ever European Championship, fans of A Selecao have been unrelenting in their praise of ever-present keeper Rui Patricio. And someone else reported to have plenty of admiration for the Sporting Lisbon stopper is Everton boss Ronald Koeman.
The 28-year-old has spent his entire career with the Lisbon outfit, lifting the Portuguese Cup twice – most recently in 2014-15.
However, last season was arguably the best of his career, with Patricio playing in every league game as Sporting shipped just 21 goals in the Primeira Liga – fewer than champions Porto.
And those four clean sheets – and a penalty shoot-out victory – en route to Euros glory for the national side has seen his stock continue to rise.
Everton’s interest is of little surprise, especially with the Toffees shipping 55 goals in the Premier League last year – their highest total since 2003-04 – and watching first-choice keeper Tim Howard exit this summer.
Martin Stekelenburg has arrived from Fulham, but the Dutchman is unlikely to be anything more than cover, with Koeman believed to be ready to splash the cash on the Sporting stopper valued at £11.9m by Transfermarkt.co.uk.
Everton will be desperate to make last season’s 11th-placed finish a distant memory, and signings like Patricio could well see the odds tumble on the current 12/1 for the Toffees to finish next season in the Premier League top four.
They begin the campaign at Goodison Park next month, with 19/10 for an opening-day victory over Tottenham.
But will it be Stelekenburg or Patricio between the sticks for Koeman’s men?
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.