The Everton manager, David Moyes, appears to be ready to make a move for Bordeaux midfielder Alou Diarra, in a sign that the club's chairman, Bill Kenwright, is prepared to build on this year's fifth place in the Premier League.
Diarra, 26, played for Liverpool as a teenager though the prospect of Champions League football for Bordeaux next season may hinder a return to Merseyside. He is valued at £8m.
A midfielder is needed after Lee Carsley signed for Birmingham City yesterday. The 34-year-old, hankering after a return to his native Midlands, refused a one-year deal at Everton.
"My contract ran out at Everton... but I felt it was time to move on," Carsley said. "I wanted a new challenge and I didn't necessarily want to go to another Premier League club and struggle with them. Being realistic, we finished fifth in the League with Everton so I wasn't going to go to any of the teams above them and I couldn't see the point of going to any of the teams below them.
"So I feel I've done the next best thing and joined a club that's building for the future and trying to get where Everton are."