Carlo Ancelotti has been dealt a blow in Everton’s rumoured pursuit of Nikola Maksimovic, with AS Roma considered to be a ‘welcome destination’ for the SSC Napoli defender.
According to Forza Roma, Maksimovic could emerge as the Giallorossi’s first purchase of the summer market with the Serbian expected to leave the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium.
Maksimovic’s agent, Fali Ramadani, has been in contact with Roma for some time over a potential transfer, with the centre-back’s Napoli contract due to expire at the end of June.
The Stadio Olimpico is considered to be a ‘welcome destination’ for Maksimovic and further talks between Roma CEO Tiago Pinto and Ramadani are expected to be held soon.
Maksimovic is chasing a €3m-a-season (£49k-p/w) contract at his next club, which Roma are expected to meet with bonuses, as the deal is likely to be his last with a significant salary.
The 29-year-old is also keen to be guaranteed a starring role to ensure he secures a place in Serbia’s squad for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. But his request may prove problematic for Roma, as the Giallorossi are assessing a potential change in manager.
Any hurdle in Roma’s efforts is likely to play into the hands of their Serie A rivals Inter Milan, as the £11m-rated enforcer is seen as one of the most highly-coveted free agents to-be with interest from at least two other European clubs.
Everton and West Ham United have been cited as potential destinations by Nicola Shira, who notes that both Premier League sides have approached Ramadani for information.
Ancelotti certainly seems keen to reinforce the Goodison Park backline in the upcoming market, with Maksimovic just one centre-back to have been linked with a move amid question marks over the ability of Everton’s current options to play together.
Prior reports by Il Mattino also suggested Ancelotti had explored a reunion with Maksimovic in January, but Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis demanded close to €10m (£8.5m) to sell the summer free agent.
Everton now have the chance to sign the 25-cap enforcer without owner Farhad Moshiri having to pay his current Serie A side a penny, but would seemingly have to assure Maksimovic of a starting role to beat out Roma, Inter Milan and West Ham’s interest.
Whether Ancelotti is willing to guarantee his former defender that chance remains to be seen, having favoured the 6 ft 3 Maksimovic more as a rotation option during his time in charge at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium.
Maksimovic made a combined 38 appearances across all competitions under the Italian during two seasons together in Naples, but his longest run in the starting line-up for Serie A fixtures lasted just five games.
Ancelotti sang his praises nonetheless, noting in 2018 via quotes by Tutto Napoli: “He has no problems. I am satisfied, he is an excellent defender, complete elastic, fast, he can play both centre-right and centre-left.”
Any interest Ancelotti had in a reunion at Everton will have been dealt a blow by Roma’s plans for further negotiations, it is now up to the Italian to decide if he is willing to give Maksimovic a starring role at Goodison Park next season.
AND in other news, Everton are tracking a £17m striker with “a wealth of talent”…