Everton Director of Football Marcel Brands faces a race against time to seal the signature of AS Monaco’s Rony Lopes, after L’Equipe credited the Blues with interest in the forward, via Sport Witness.
The French publication understands we are one of a number of English sides courting the two-time Portugal international, with Newcastle and West Ham United said to be attentive to his situation in the Principality.
Lopes has struggled to forge a regular role for himself with Les Monegasques under either of Leonardo Jardim or brief head coach Thierry Henry, despite being named in the starting line-up for 22 of his 24 Ligue 1 outings last term.
His lengthy absence from the side last term came due to a thigh muscle strain and subsequent fitness concerns, which sidelined the former Manchester City youth player for 111 days between September and the turn of the year.
When fit, the versatile attacker – capable of playing on either wing or in midfield – recorded two top-flight goals and assists, along with notching two successful strikes in the Coupe de Ligue.
However, 5 ft 7 Lopes longs for a chance to return to England and prove himself in the country after failing to establish his presence with the Citizens, making just five first-team appearances before being sold to Monaco for around €10million (£9.2m) in 2015.
Les Monegasques are expected to demand a fee in the region of €25million (£23m) if they are to part ways with the natural right-winger this summer, but Brands would face a race against time to complete a deal given the window slams shut to Premier League sides on Thursday.
Our Director of Football could wait to see how Lopes kick-starts the new Ligue 1 campaign and bid in January, but he would risk missing out on the Belem, Brazil-born 23-year-old, as the forward is also attracting the interest of Sevilla, AS Roma and Valencia.
While the English transfer window slams shut at 17:00 on Thursday, the Italian summer market does not close until August 23, while La Liga sides have until September 2 to conclude their business.
Sevilla are also seen by L’Equipe to be at the front of the queue looking to sign the SL Benfica product, who earns a reported £22,641-a-week at the Stade Louis II.