According to the Mirror, Everton are favourites to sign Empoli’s talented full-back Mario Rui.
The report states that the Toffees have moved ahead of Atletico Madrid in the running to sign the £3million-rated defender after having watched him in action several times.
Rui, 24, started his career at Benfica, coming through the club’s youth academy before making the switch to Italian side Parma following his lack of opportunities in Portugal.
Despite not featuring much for Parma, he did enough to earn himself a move to Empoli in the summer of 2013 and quickly established himself as one of the best left-backs in Serie A.
A former Portugal under-21 international, Rui has made 19 Serie A starts this season – averaging an impressive three interceptions and 2.8 effective clearances per match.
The report goes on to say that Everton have monitored his progress for some time, and they were not alone in their interest as Atletico were also cited as a keen suitor.
However, the Madrid-based side have recently been slapped with a two-window transfer ban and that has allowed the Toffees to move in to pole position in the race for his signature.
Empoli are said to be unwilling to sell him until the summer, yet the Italian side are not exactly in the best position from a negotiation standpoint and therefore could be persuaded to strike a deal this month.