Everton could be about to shatter the club-record £28m they spent on Romelu Lukaku – by delving into their warchest to bring Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly to Goodison Park.
The 25-year-old has established a reputation as one of the most robust and reliable defenders in European football since arriving in Italy from Belgian side Racing Genk in 2014.
Napoli’s key man at the back last season, the Senegal international helped ensure a second-placed finish for I Ciucciarelli in Serie A last season, as the Campania outfit conceded just 32 goals, as well as keeping four clean sheets en route to the Europa League knockout rounds.
As well as superb tackling and an immense aerial presence – standing at 6ft 5in with the strength of the average tank – the giant defender can also create at the other end, having provided assists in Serie A and the Europa League in each of the last two seasons.
With Everton likely to lose John Stones to Manchester City this summer and fellow centre-back Phil Jagielka in the twilight of his career, now seems the time to splash the cash for Koulibaly.
And while the €45m (£37.6m) which Napoli are reportedly looking for would have previously put off the Toffees, the involvement of uber-rich steel magnate Farhad Moshiri means that coughing up that sort of sum is no longer beyond the Merseyside outfit.
Everton are 12/1 to secure a top-four spot in this season’s Premier League, though the acquisition of a truly world-class centre-back could see those odds slashed instantly.
The Toffees welcome Tottenham to Goodison Park on opening day, with 19/10 for Ronald Koeman’s men to hit the ground running with a first win over Spurs since 2012.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing