Everton have been scared off by the asking price set by Newcastle United for Jamaal Lascelles and have turned their attention to Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson, according to the Northern Echo.
The regional newspaper claim the cash-rich Merseysiders got in contact with Newcastle top brass about the possibility of buying Lascelles this summer.
The Northern Echo report that Newcastle put the frighteners on Everton by insisting they don’t want to sell the 24-year-old and will not even consider offers of less than £30million, which had the unexpected outcome of forcing their rivals to back off.
Given the vast sums Everton have spent on players and wages in the last two years, it appears there was little limit to what majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri was willing to bankroll. The Iranian billionaire sanctioned such massive and overpriced fees – the £45million Gylfi Sigurdsson, £25million Michael Keane and £24million Davy Klaassen deals spring to mind – it is certainly unusual and unexpected for them to be put off so quickly by Newcastle’s £30million Lascelles valuation. Even in January, Everton splurged £20million-plus on forwards Cenk Tosun and Theo Walcott as well as handing them massive pay rises. Are we now seeing a more restrained approach from Moshiri under new manager Marco Silva? Will they be looking for far greater value in this summer’s window as Silva operates within a stricter budget under new recruitment chief Marcel Brands. That is certainly a strong possibility, as they pursue the cheaper option of Boro man Gibson.