Watford and West Ham were linked with Matheus Jesus recently but Everton now appear to be among the frontrunners.

A new centre-back would be the perfect welcoming present for whoever takes the reigns at Everton.

Only bottom of the table Crystal Palace have conceded more Premier League goals than The Toffees’ 21 this season with the defensive resilience that characterised The Merseyside giants during their 21st century heyday nowhere to be seen.

Ashley Williams and Phil Jagielka are well past their best while Michael Keane’s £25 million price tag appears to be weighing him down. Ramiro Funes Mori, who made good strides last season under Ronald Koeman, is likely to miss the majority of this season after suffering a knee injury in the summer.

Everton, then, will be hoping that Matheus Jesus lives up to his name and performs miracles at Goodison Park.

Calciomercato reports that Everton are fighting Serie A duo Sampdoria and Bologna for the 20-year-old centre-back, who is on loan at Santos from Portuguese side Estoril.

Jesus, who made one appearance for Brazil’s Under-20s against England in 2016, is valued at around £7 million so is comfortably within budget for a Toffees side who spent £140 million on new players during the summer window.

The youngster, who can also play in defensive midfield, is renowned for his typically Brazilian flair, encompassing the ability to stride forwards from the back and a penchant for shooting from long-range.

Calciomercato reported in October that Watford and West Ham were hot on the trail of Jesus but it seems he has a new disciple in Everton.

The Hammers, however, should not drop their interest with the club conceding the softest of goals on a weekly basis. New manager David Moyes says sorting out the defence is his priority and signing Jesus would help in that regard.

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