Everton have reportedly identified Arsenal defender Calum Chambers as the backup central defensive target should they fail to land Michael Keane.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, Everton are likely to turn their attention towards Arsenal defender Calum Chambers if they fail in their pursuit of Burnley centre-back Michael Keane in the summer transfer window.
Chambers progressed through the ranks at Southampton before making the grade in the first-team setup at St. Mary’s. The player enjoyed a fruitful couple of seasons with the Saints’ senior squad before subsequently being snapped up by Arsenal in the summer of 2014.
However, the Englishman has seen his career stutter at the Emirates, after managing to start just 35 games in his first two campaigns with the Gunners, and the club sent him on loan to Middlesbrough for the recently concluded season.
At the Riverside, Chambers quickly became a regular in Boro’s first-team setup and despite the club being relegated to the Championship, the player was impressive with his resolute performances at the back. Back at Arsenal now, though, his future at the club is highly uncertain.
The likes of Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi, Gabriel and Per Mertesacker were already ahead of Chambers before he embarked on his season-long loan spell to Middlesbrough, and the rise of Rob Holding in 2016/17 has further jeopardised his position at the Emirates.
Arsenal would prefer to send the player on another loan spell for the 2017/18 campaign, but will not stand in his way should he favour a permanent move elsewhere. One club that is eager to secure a permanent deal for Chambers is Everton.
Ronald Koeman is reportedly keen on signing a centre-back this summer, with Ashley Williams, Phil Jagielka and Ramiro Funes Mori as his only recognised central defensive options. Funes Mori, though, is nursing a long-term injury while Matthew Pennington isn’t considered a regular yet.
With the Everton boss often playing a system that uses a back-three, he has a serious dearth of options at his disposal. The Toffees have, thus, been eyeing a move for Burnley’s Michael Keane. The transfer fee, however, is proving to be a big stumbling block in their pursuit of the former Manchester United defender.
The Everton boss prefers a move for the 24-year-old but is unwilling to pay over the odds for him. Hence, as a contingency plan, Koeman has set his sights on Chambers, who could be available for as little as £15 million, and can be a valuable addition to his squad.
As far as the player is concerned, the switch to Goodison Park will allow him to play first-team football on a regular basis, while also having the opportunity to test his mettle in Europe next season.
Meanwhile, Newcastle, Bournemouth and RB Leipzig have also enquired about the player’s availability, and it remains to be seen if any of these clubs can manage to sign him ahead of Everton. As for Everton, they would still be hoping to land Keane, with Chambers their backup option.