With Johnny Heitinga widely expected to depart from Goodison Park this month – the Dutchman has already rejected a move to West Ham and has since been linked to Serie A side Roma as well as Stoke and Newcastle – finding a sturdy defensive replacement could soon emerge as a key transfer priority for Roberto Martinez this January.
One stop-gap solution that’s getting plenty of column inches and online speculation is former Evertonian Joleon Lescott, who’s currently in footballing limbo at Manchester City.
The England international represents one of the most astute pieces of business of the David Moyes era, joining the Toffees from Wolves in 2006 for just £5million and spending three seasons on Merseyside before moving to the Etihad for £22million in summer ’09.
The 6 foot 2 centre-back, who once reached double figures in a single campaign for Everton, was a key member of the Citizens’ successful Premier League title campaign in 2011/2012, partnering Vincent Kompany at the heart of defence.
But last year’s arrival of Matija Nastasic and this summer’s acquisition of veteran Martin Demichelis has seen the Three Lions defender slide down the Eastlands pecking order. Having made just seven starts since the summer, Lescott needs an inward Premier League move this January to reaffirm himself in Roy Hodgson’s plans ahead of the 2014 World Cup.
Tried and tested at the Premier League’s highest level, the 31 year-old represents a solid stop-gap solution that will maintain the quality of Everton’s defensive depth until the end of the season. A loan bid seems most likely, but top flight strugglers West Ham and Fulham appear to be the most interested parties thus far.