Barcelona defender Clement Lenglet has reportedly emerged as a shock transfer target for Premier League club Everton with Rafael Benitez keen on him.

According to a report from Spanish publication Fichajes, Premier League outfit Everton are plotting a raid on La Liga heavyweights Barcelona for the signing of French centre-back Rafael Benitez in the ongoing transfer window.

Lenglet has spent three years at Barcelona after having signed from Sevilla in the summer of 2018. Pretty much a regular throughout his tenure, to date, he has made 133 appearances for the club, scoring seven goals while setting up two more. However, the Frenchman is staring at an uncertain future at Camp Nou following an unsteady campaign during which he made quite a few errors that hurt the Catalans.

Indeed, with Barcelona needing to cut players from their squad to accommodate the new contract of Lionel Messi on their wage bill, the report claims that Lenglet has been identified as one of the dispensable players by president Joan Laporta, with the Blaugrana ready to cash in on the 26-year-old should the right offer arrive.

And Everton may be now ready to capitalise on the situation by launching a move for Lenglet. The Toffees are set for another potential rebuild this summer, with Rafael Benitez taking over as the manager following Carlo Ancelotti’s return to Real Madrid. The ex-Liverpool boss seems to have identified the centre-back department as something that needs to be reinforced this summer.

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Everton, so far, have been linked with Wolves’ captain Conor Coady, while the Merseysiders even tried to make a late hijack attempt on Arsenal’s move for Ben White. Now, Lenglet has emerged as a viable target for Benitez & co., with the manager keen on adding a left-footed centre-back to his options, the report claims.

It also states that Benitez has not been convinced by Yerry Mina’s performances at the Copa America 2021 with Colombia, while Ben Godfrey and Mason Holgate are still deemed a bit young. So, someone like Lenglet, who has the experience of playing at the highest level with Barcelona and France, and could be available at a knockdown price of €20 million, despite having five years on his contract, is being looked at.

It now remains to be seen whether Everton do act on their interest in Lenglet this summer or look at other options to bolster their backline. With Benitez at the helm, the Toffees seem to be looking at players from La Liga, with Real Madrid’s Isco also on their radar. As for Barcelona, given their plight, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the 26-year-old was shown the doors with the Catalans also looking at new options to strengthen the defence.

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