Everton have spent the entire summer on the hunt for a centre-back to accompany Mason Holgate, Yerry Mina and Michael Keane after failing to replace Phil Jagielka and Ashley Williams last year.
Jarrad Branthwaite has impressed after being promoted from the reserves, but the Toffees have Unai Nunez, Mohammed Salisu, Wesley Fofana, Gabriel Magalhaes, Kalidou Koulibaly, Thiago Silva, Marash Kumbulla, Christian Luyindama, Issa Diop and Tosin Adarabioyo on their radar too.
And according to Calciomercato, their bid to sign Nikola Maksimović has been given a boost as Napoli are resigned to selling him ahead of the new season.
Why is he leaving Napoli?
His relationship with Genaro Gattuso has broken down. Maksimović’s camp had been in talks with Napoli over a five-year deal worth €38k-per-week/€2m-a-year (£34k-per-week/£1.8m-a-year), but agent Fali Ramadani and president Aurelio De Laurentiis failed to agree terms.
With only one year left on his deal, Napoli will be forced to cash in on Maksimovic rather than lose him for nothing in 2021. Calciomercato say Napoli are happy to sell the 28-year-old for €15m this summer as a result.
What will Maksimovic bring to Everton?
Maksimović has spent four years at he Stadio San Paolo, one on loan and three as a permanent player. He’s made 72 appearances in all competitions, scoring two goals with two assists. Last season, the Serbian international made 23 Serie A appearances, amassing 1801 minutes of playing time.
He won 41/69 aerial duels, created eight chances, completed 93.1% of his 1368 passes, had 9/14 successful dribbles, blocked 22 shots/passes/crosses, made 61 clearances, averaging a tackle (35) or interception (30) every 28 minutes and was dribbled past (11) once every 163 minutes.
There is a good chance of us signing Maksimovic if we’re willing to match his asking price, but it doesn’t appear we’re that close to completing a deal with Napoli. The Serb doesn’t exactly fit the criteria of a young and hungry talent that Marcel Brands is after, but he’s coming off the back of good season in Serie A and could be a positive addition to the squad. Time will tell if we land his signature.