Everton are one of several clubs keen on River Plate midfielder Nicolás De La Cruz if he leaves the club on a free transfer this summer.
That’s according to Marca, relaying information from journalist Sebastián Srur, who has revealed that the player could be set to let his contract at the Argentine club run down.
De La Cruz has been a big hit with River Plate since signing from Liverpool FC Montevideo in Uruguay in 2017, with 17 goals and 23 assists in 96 appearances so far.
The 23-year-old, as is the case with most young talent in South America, has regularly been linked with a move to Europe in that time, with several clubs all keeping an eye on his development.
This summer could be the year to grab him too, with his contract at River set to expire and no sign of a new deal as yet.
And, as Marca report, that deal could now be further away than ever. They explain that everything was on track for the youngster to extend before he added a new demand to the negotiations.
The midfielder is keen to see his former club paid a debt that they are owed by River and has insisted that the issue be sorted before he commits to a new contract with the Argentine giants.
That debt is around $1m, with River yet to pay for the final 70% of De La Cruz’s rights, with them still held by Liverpool. The debt is already a year overdue, and while Liverpool are yet to contact FIFA over the matter, De La Cruz wants to see them paid.
This condition is considered ‘immovable’ and, as such, De La Cruz could now be set to head for pastures new on a free transfer in the summer.
Should that happen, there is a ‘large number’ of European clubs would be happy to take him and Everton are one of those, alongside Manchester City and Sporting, who ‘intend’ to make a move.
Whether he would be interested isn’t mentioned, but it would be a very Marcel Brands transfer, with him having shown a proclivity towards South American talent in the past.
Securing De La Cruz on a free transfer, with the possibility of making a huge profit for Everton in future, would be another example of that and the kind of strategy he’s desperate to implement long-term at Goodison Park.
At the moment it seems their interest is nothing more than a passing one but if the midfielder does end up available on a free, expect the Toffees to be right there competing to get him.