After missing out on countless top targets last summer, Everton appear to be laying down their transfer plans early this time around.
Unfortunately, however, Ilija Nestorovski was not on the scoresheet as Palermo kept their unlikely survival hopes alive with a 2-0 victory at the Stadio Renzo Barbera. Yet, the fiery Macedonian hitman has done more than enough this season to justify his links to the Premier League.
Blessed with tenacity and a commendable work-rate, not to mention ten goals in a side who have spent almost the entire season in the bottom three, Everton have been linked with Nestorovski for some time.
Calciomercato reported in February that The Toffees had scouted him in Palermo’s 4-1 defeat at Juventus. His £17 million valuation is undoubtedly hefty considering that Nestorovski was playing for NK Inter Zapresic in the Croatian league this time last year.
But, with top scorer Romelu Lukaku angling for a move and refusing to sign a new deal, Everton may have plenty of money to play with and a goalscorer at the top of their wish list.
Their other reported target, however, falls more into the ambitious category. Milan Badelj has been linked with almost every major club in England and Italy and Tuttomercatoweb reports that Everton may be planning another attempt to lure him from La Viola.
A tenacious ball-winning midfielder on first glance, Badelj is also a superb distributor and a calming presence in central midfield. The Croatian was one of the standout midfielders at Euro 2016 and could be an excellent replacement for the veteran Gareth Barry.
Badelj’s contract expires next summer, however, so Everton can expect competition – particularly from a Tottenham Hotspur side who have been linked as far back as 2011, as reported by the Daily Mail.
However, Spurs are hardly lacking in options in central midfield with Victor Wanyama's arrival last summer adding to Eric Dier, Moussa Dembele, Dele Alli and Harry Winks. Therefore, Everton may be in the driving seat this time around.