Everton appear to be leading the race for James Tarkowski as Frank Lampard aims to bolster his defensive options ahead of next season.
According to The Telegraph, the Toffees now lead the chase for the Burnley defender, ahead of Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United, Aston Villa and West Ham.
The England international is a free agent this summer following the expiry of his contract at the end of June, and with the Clarets’ relegation to the Championship confirmed on the final day of the Premier League season, it seems unlikely that he will remain at Turf Moor.
Lampard has endured a difficult start to life at Everton, with the club narrowly avoiding relegation to the Championship as they finished 16th in the top flight, and that won’t be enough to satiate the supporters.
The Toffees conceded 66 league goals last season – only four teams let in more – and the defence is in urgent need of improvement.
Tarkowski has been earning £70k-p/w at Burnley and would likely want that matched or improved if he comes to Goodison Park.
His former manager Sean Dyche dubbed him “outstanding”, with journalist Alex James previously describing the defender as a “rock”, and there seems little doubt that he would instantly improve Lampard’s leaky defence.
The 29-year-old has an average rating of 6.97 on WhoScored this season, the best of anyone in the Burnley squad, which shows that he was a vital presence at the back despite their relegation. Also, Tarkowski ranked in the top 1% out of positional peers in the big five leagues in both blocks (2.67 per 90) and aerials won (4.95) during 2021/22.
The Everton defence could look a lot different next season if Lampard can secure the signature of the Burnley colossus. It could prove to be the most important signing that the club make during the summer, if indeed it comes off.