Everton are ready to hijack the potential transfer of Aurelio Buta from Royal Antwerp to Celtic, according to reports.
Celtic have been in talks with Antwerp over the signing of Buta in recent days. The right-back could cost less than £5m, proving to be a useful reinforcement for whoever gets him. At 24 years of age, he has established himself in Belgium. Last season, he made 25 league appearances for Antwerp.
Now, a move to the British Isles beckons – although instead of the destination being in Scotland, it could be south of the border.
According to The Sun, Everton are now making a move to sign Buta as Rafael Benitez looks for further depth at right-back. He has reassured captain Seamus Coleman of his importance, but could seek an upgrade on deputy Jonjoe Kenny.
Club scouts have been looking at Buta and could make a move for the former Portugal youth international, who was born in Angola.
He could be a cost-effective option, because Antwerp are only looking for around £3m. Celtic have already had a lower offer rejected, so Everton could now sneak in.
Benitez will have the final say on whether Everton pursue Buta or not, but he seems to be firmly on their radar.
The recently appointed manager has assessed his new squad and wants more depth at full-back, so could well give the green light to the pursuit.
Newcastle star set for Benitez reunion
Everton have already added Asmir Begovic, Andros Townsend and Demarai Gray to their squad this summer.
Their activity in the transfer window is not slowing down, though. In fact, they have also been linked with signing a new midfielder.
And the latest name to be suggested is someone Benitez knows well…
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