According to the Liverpool Echo, Everton face last-minute competition from La Liga club Villarreal in their bid to sign River Plate defender Ramiro Funes Mori.
Following the departures of Sylvain Distin and Antolin Alcaraz this summer, Roberto Martinez is keen to bolster his defensive options at Goodison Park.
Everton are willing to pay around £5.5million to land the highly-rated centre back, who helped his club win the Copa Libertadores this season, although they will now face competition for his signature from Spain.
The Toffees showed fantastic resilience as they earned maximum points on their travels to Southampton this weekend, but doubts over the future of John Stones - who is the subject of interest from Chelsea, according to The Guardian - will provide Martinez further motivation to strengthen at the back.
Reports suggest Martinez sees 24-year-old Argentina international, Mori, as the perfect player to put pressure on Phil Jagielka and his junior centre-back partner - should he remain with the club - at the heart of the Everton defence.
However, amid interest from Goodison officials, Villarreal have begun talks with the player’s representatives in a bid to pip the Toffees to his signature and lure him into a move to La Liga, where he would link up with another former River Plate centre back in Mateo Musacchio.