Everton are reportedly set to try and tempt Burnley defender James Tarkowski away from the Lancashire-based side this summer.
According to Football Insider sources, the Toffees are keen to bolster their defensive ranks with a move for the Englishman in the upcoming transfer window, with the 29-year-old set to be available on a free transfer this summer once his existing deal ends, having rejected ‘multiple’ offers of an extension from the Clarets.
The report suggests that the Merseysiders’ new director of football Kevin Thelwell is a ‘big admirer’ of the central defender and recently watched the £19.8m-rated man in action during the Turf Moor outfit’s 1-0 win over Wolves, with a move on the cards should Frank Lampard’s men avoid relegation.
His current side had held firm in January despite reported interest from Newcastle United, although will now seemingly be helpless in preventing him from departing, owing to his contract situation.
As stated above, any move for the £50k-per-week ace is seemingly dependent on the Goodison outfit staving off the drop, albeit with the irony being that it is Tarkowski’s Burnley who could well be the side to condemn to a first relegation since 1951.
There is still a scenario in which both sides remain in the division – with Leeds United having also been sucked into the survival scrap – yet it would appear that the player’s future will be intertwined with that of both his current and potential future club’s.
Should Lampard prove successful in keeping his side in the top-flight, however, turning to the 6 foot 1 centre-back would no doubt be an astute purchase, with the club in desperate need of quality additions at the heart of the defence.
At present, the leaky backline have conceded 55 Premier League goals so far this season – the sixth-worst record in the division – with both former boss Rafa Benitez and his successor struggling to settle on a central defensive pairing.
One man who has come under fire far too often is, ironically, Tarkowski’s former club teammate Michael Keane, with the 29-year-old having made two errors leading to goals so far this term, while he also formed part of a defensive united that was dubbed “Championship level” by pundit Jamie Carragher following the 5-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur back in March.
Former England stopper Paul Robinson has also been heavily critical of the former Manchester United man this season, insisting that he “suffers from lapses in concentration”, with that a factor in the club’s tumble down the table.
In Tarkowski, however, Thelwell has seemingly identified an ideal replacement, with the former Oldham Athletic man having registered a mightily impressive record of 5.4 clearances, 1.5 interceptions and 1.9 tackles per games so far this term, having also previously been labelled a player with “an array of qualities” by pundit Matthew Upson.
The Toffees are in desperate need of more quality and steel in their backline and by staying in the division, they should have enough to be able to bring the Burnley man, labelled as being “a rock”, to Goodison.