A man Ronald Koeman tried and failed to lure to Everton could make The Toffees’ task of landing one of Europe’s hottest striking prospects a little easier this summer.
The 24-year-old Spaniard arrived in Ligue 1 last summer after failing to make the breakthrough at Real Madrid but is now showing Los Blancos what they are missing with 18 goals in 30 starts in the French top flight. No wonder Lyon are demanding £25 million for a striker who appears to have it all.
And, in an interesting twist of fate, Everton could just have been boosted in their pursuit of Mariano by none other than Memphis Depay, the erratic yet highly gifted Dutchman who current Holland boss Koeman admitted trying to lure to Goodison Park before he was sacked in October.
Depay, after that dreadful spell at Manchester United, is finally starting to find the electric form he showed at PSV Eindhoven – and that is largely thanks to his reinvention as a centre-forward by Lyon coach Bruno Genesio.
Depay has started Lyon’s last five games in the centre of the attack and has scored or assisted 12 goals in that time. As a result, Mariano has lost his place and has started just once in Ligue 1 since the start of April, making another two substitute appearances.
If Mariano cannot win his place back, Lyon might just be a little more inclined to sell.