Premier League duo Everton and West Ham are keen to improve their defence with highly-rated Ligue 1 ace Adama Soumaoro a £20 million target.

Lille may have endured something of a nightmare season in Ligue 1 but centre-back Adama Soumaoro has still managed to stand out among the dross.

According to The Mail in mid-December, Premier League duo Everton and West Ham are both big fans of the defender and had planned to sign him in January. Lille are in financial disarray and are prepared to sell, with Soumaoro valued at £20 million.

A powerful and aggressive centre-back, there is little doubt that Soumaoro would drastically improve an Everton side which has looked decidedly shaky all season long. Sam Allardyce was left shaken by the nature of his side’s 4-0 capitulation against Tottenham last week and a replacement for the ageing Ashley Williams and Phil Jagielka is required.

West Ham, however, have looked far more solid since David Moyes’ arrival, notably keeping clean sheets against Arsenal and Chelsea in December. But with James Collins approaching the twilight of his career, Soumaoro would be a younger option in their back line.

Although with nearly two thirds of the transfer window gone, it appears Everton are stepping up their pursuit of the 25-year-old.

According to the Liverpool Echo, Director of Football Steve Walsh and chief scout Martin Glover had travelled to Flanders to watch Lille’s home clash against Rennes on Wednesday night with a view to seeing Soumaoro in action.

But they, like the Lille fans, would have gone home disappointed as Soumaoro missed the 2-1 home defeat through injury.

Nonetheless, Everton should not be deterred with Soumaoro likely to attract plenty of attention between now and the end of the month.

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