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Cristian Zapata targeted by Everton if John Stones is sold - sources

Everton are considering a move for AC Milan defender Cristian Zapata as a possible replacement for John Stones, sources have told ESPN FC.

Everton boss Roberto Martinez is drawing up a list of defensive targets amid fears Stones could leave for Chelsea before the close of the transfer window.

Chelsea have seen two bids rejected by Everton for Stones, but the Premier League champions are expected to come back with a new offer for the England international as they look to bring him to Stamford Bridge.

Martinez is still looking to add a new central defender even if they manage to keep hold of Stones as he needs a replacement for Sylvain Distin, who left for Bournemouth on a free transfer, in his squad.

Swansea's Ashley Williams and Celtic's Virgil van Dijk have been linked with moves to Everton, but both Swansea and Celtic are determined to keep hold of their defensive lynchpins respectively.

Colombia international Zapata has now emerged on Everton's radar with the 28-year-old finding himself down the pecking order at the San Siro.

Zapata, who can also play at right-back, made just eight starts in Serie A last season and find himself behind Alex, Philippe Mexes and Gabriel Paletta in the pecking order in the Milan side.

The former Villarreal man is entering the final year of his contract at Milan and the Rossoneri could be tempted to sell for the right offer rather than risk allowing the South American to run down his contract.


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