Everton are reportedly keeping tabs on 27-year-old Portuguese midfielder Xeka, who is available as a free agent this summer.

According to French outlet L’Equipe, Everton are among a host of clubs expressing interest in signing Portuguese midfielder Xeka. The 27-year-old is available as a free agent this summer after playing out his contract with Lille at the end of the 2021/22 campaign.

Formerly of SC Braga, Xeka joined LOSC Lille in the winter transfer window of the 2017/18 season, initially on loan before Les Dogues triggered a clause to make his move permanent the following summer. He went from strength to strength at Stade Pierre-Mauroy, establishing himself as a first-team regular while being a vital member of the team that won the Ligue 1 title ahead of PSG two seasons ago.

In total, the 27-year-old turned out 144 times for Lille while chipping in with nine goals and seven assists along the way. Now, Xeka is a free agent following the expiration of his contract, and it is said Rennes, FC Porto, and VfL Wolfsburg are also in the hunt for his signature.

Everton have also been dragged into the mix as a potential next destination for the Portuguese midfielder, who is keen on staying in Europe and has already waved away an offer from Saudi Arabian side Al-Ettifaq.

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Everton’s financial problems have been well documented. However, it appears the Everton owners have kicked off a big-money recruitment drive at Goodison Park, with James Tarkowski, Ruben Vinagre (on loan), and Dwight McNeil already coming through the door. In addition, the arrivals of Idrissa Gueye and Amadou Onana are certain to be announced in the next days.

The Toffees hijacked West Ham United’s pursuit of Onana earlier in the week and have now finalised personal terms and agreed a fee in excess of  €40 million for the Belgian international, who is due to undergo a medical at Goodison Park. This comes as a big boost for Frank Lampard, who is being backed by the Everton board despite their precarious financial standing.

Still, more reinforcements are needed to create a squad that would give them the best chance of survival. Andre Gomes and Allan are staring at uncertain futures at Goodison Park. And with Lampard seeking wholesale changes in his engine room, signing someone like Xeka on a Bosman move makes perfect sense and would represent a smart acquisition from the Toffees.

At 27, Xeka is at the peak of his powers and already has experience of playing on the continental stage, having featured ten times in the UEFA Champions League for Lille previously. Last season, the Portuguese midfielder made 32 competitive appearances for Lille, registering five goal involvements (4 goals, 1 assist).

This could end up being a transfer masterstroke if he ends up being heavily involved in the first team. Whether Everton can lure him to Merseyside ahead of the stiff competition remains to be seen.

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