Needing defensive reinforcements for the second half of the season, Everton, having already bought their striker, focused on a centre-back.

The Toffees eventually settled on bringing in Eliaquim Mangala on loan from Manchester City, but, if La Voix du Nord in France are to be believed, he wasn’t their first choice.

According to the local newspaper, instead of the former Porto star, Sam Allardyce would have preferred to sign Lille’s Adama Soumaoro.

Not only that, but La Voix du Nord suggest Everton made a move for the 25-year-old, as they report the Ligue 1 side turned down a €22m bid from the Toffees for their centre-back.

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Currently 17th, Lille’s owner, Gérard Lopez, took the decision on Wednesday to block any further sales for fear of weakening the side too much and facing potential relegation.

Normally a sure fire starter, Soumaoro has only made seven league appearances so far this season, missing the first 13 weeks of the season with an Achilles tendon rupture suffered in week 31 of the 2016-17 campaign.

He’s also missed the past three games with some ‘unknown’ discomfort, although whether that was transfer related, who knows.

Either way, with games against Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon coming up, they’ll be needing him back, and Everton will have to make do with Mangala.