In Focus: Everton could step up Ibrahim Amadou interest after McCarthy injury blow

According to Sky Sports, Everton have received a boost in their reported pursuit of Lille midfielder Ibrahim Amadou after Crystal Palace saw a second bid in excess of £16m for the 24-year-old rejected.

What’s the word, then?

Well, The Mirror’s live transfer blog on January 13, via HITC, claimed that the Toffees were interested in bringing the Frenchman to Goodison Park before the January transfer window slams shut, which was no surprise given Sam Allardyce tried to sign him this time last year when he was in charge of Palace.

The Eagles have been keen to bring the Lille captain to the Premier League since then but they have failed with their latest attempt, according to Sky Sports.

Sky Sports also reports that Lille need to sell players this month to raise funds in order to comply with financial fair play rules, meaning an exit for the 24-year-old is still on the cards.

How has Amadou done this season?

He has once again been a key player in the middle of the park for the Ligue 1 outfit.

The Cameroon-born is able to play both as a defensive midfielder and a centre-back, although the majority of his 20 French top flight appearances this term have come in the former.

According to WhoScored.com, the Lille skipper’s main strengths are his tackling and his ability to block the ball, and he has won 33 of the 37 tackles he has attempted in 20 Ligue 1 games this season, while he has made 26 blocks, 27 interceptions and 53 clearances.

Amadou has also won 26 of the 49 aerial duels he has faced, while he has shown his quality on the ball with an overall passing accuracy of 89%, as well as successfully completing nine of the 11 dribbles he has attempted.

Will Everton try to sign him before Wednesday?

It depends really.

The fact that the 24-year-old can play as a centre-back and as a defensive midfielder will certainly attract long-term admirer Allardyce, while the double leg break suffered by James McCarthy last weekend may well mean the former England boss looks to strengthen in the middle of the park by the close of play on Wednesday.

Whether Everton are willing to pay a big price for Amadou remains to be seen though given how much they have already spent since the beginning of last summer.