Everton are reportedly showing interest in Brentford defender Kristoffer Ajer.

The Athletic report that Everton are in the market for a centre-back signing and have added Brentford’s Kristoffer Ajer to their list of targets. Frank Lampard has an eye on improving the Toffees’ defence ahead of the next season, and the search for a central defender is in full flow.

Everton narrowly avoided relegation this season, finishing 16th eventually. They were quite leaky at the back, conceding 66 Premier League goals this season. The futures of their current batch of centre-backs are unclear as well, which has left them needing at least one new central defender.

Most importantly, Yerry Mina is set to enter his final year with the club, and there have been no major developments on the renewal front. This has further increased their need of signing a solid centre-back who can lead the defence.

Lampard is believed to be a big fan of Burnley’s James Tarkowski, whose contract with the Clarets expires next month and he will be available on a free transfer. But the Merseyside club will have to ward off interest from Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa for the England international.

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Hence, Everton are keeping tabs on other options, with Kristoffer Ajer of Brentford emerging as another name on their wishlist. The Norwegian defender arrived in the Premier League last summer in a deal worth €15 million from Scottish giants Celtic. The 24-year-old was immediately made the first-choice centre-back and started the first six league matches.

However, a hamstring injury ruled him out for several weeks, and he only returned to full fitness after the turn of the year. Ajer eventually finished the season with 28 appearances across competitions, scoring a goal and assisting twice as well.

The former Celtic man still has over four years left on his contract with Brentford, which could make Everton’s job difficult. Ajer was a consistent performer for the Bees this season and is unlikely to be sold. But even if the club agree to sell him, it would be for a significant fee. This could deter the Toffees from pursuing the Norway international and looking for other options.

Everton are also interested in South Korean defender Kim Min-jae, while there are links to Chelsea prospect Levi Colwill as well. It will be interesting to see if they pursue Ajer with intent or make a push for alternatives instead.

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