Rafa Benitez is prioritising a bargain £3 million deal for Royal Antwerp defender and Celtic target Aurelio Buta as Everton step up their chase for a right-back, as reported by The Sun.
With all due respect to the Jupiler League defender, this isn’t exactly a deal that smacks of ambition.
Everton have spent much of the summer being linked with a move for PSV Eindhoven captain and Euro 2020 star Denzel Dumfries after all.
But with the Netherlands international closing in on a move to Serie A champions Inter Milan instead – he will earn £40,000 a week at the San Siro (FCInterNews) – the Toffees have little choice but to scour the market for alternatives.
At just £3 million, Buta wouldn’t break the bank either, available for a fraction of the fee PSV are demanding for the want-away Dumfries.
But is the Portuguese youth star an intelligent, low-cost addition or merely a cheap, low-risk target for a club looking to avoid another summer of heavy spending?
Everton have spent just £2 million this summer, while landing Andros Townsend and Asmir Begovic on free transfers.
Everton look to snaffle Celtic target Aurelio Buta
Buta was expected to join Celtic in this transfer window but the move appears to have stalled, with the Glasgow giants turning their attention to Dani Alves-idolising Argentina international Fabricio Bustos.
According to The Sun, Celtic offered just £1 million for Buta.
Royal Antwerp want three times that, however, despite the fact the former Benfica B prospect has just one year left on his contract at the Bosuilstadion.
The report adds the attack-minded Buta – a swashbuckling wing-back who can play in a back five or four – has impressed Everton scouts, with Benitez making the 24-year-old one of Everton’s top late-summer targets.