Everton transfer news: Benitez 'has his heart set' on fourth January signing at Goodison | OneFootball

Everton transfer news: Benitez 'has his heart set' on fourth January signing at Goodison

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Everton manager Rafa Benitez has 'got his heart set' on signing a new centre-back in the January transfer window, according to journalist Pete O'Rourke.

The Toffees have already snapped up two full-backs in the shape of Nathan Patterson and Vitaliy Mykolenko for a combined total of £33 million from Rangers and Dynamo Kiev, respectively, while bringing in Anwar El Ghazi on loan from Aston Villa.

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However, it seems Benitez is still not satisfied with his defensive unit after Everton have conceded 32 goals in their opening 18 Premier League fixtures, five more than 18th-placed Burnley.

In the absence of star defender Yerry Mina, the Goodison Park outfit have struggled to pick up positive results in the opening half of the current campaign.

When the Colombia international has featured in the top-flight, Benitez's charges have lost just one of seven games, picking up 13 points.

That is in stark contrast to when Mina has been sidelined through injury or left out of the starting XI, with Everton winning just one of their 11 fixtures.

The South American has now returned to first-team training following a thigh injury, but speculation over his long-term future continues to rumble on amid apparent interest from Napoli, according to Italian outlet Gazzetta dello Sport (via Sport Witness).

Benitez is believed to be keen on adding further reinforcements to his backline, irrespective of Mina's future, though, and O'Rourke claims a centre-back is next on his wish list.

What has O'Rourke said about Benitez?

Despite getting off to a fast start under the Spanish tactician, Everton have suffered a severe slump in form since the start of October.

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They've picked up just six points from a possible 36 and O'Rourke has revealed Benitez wants a new centre-half to stop the rot.

He told GiveMeSport: “They were looking to possibly bring in a new centre-back, and that’s what Rafa Benitez has got his heart set on, he thinks the defence needs sorting out.”

Should Benitez be targeting a new centre-back?

In truth, Everton have had issues all over the pitch this season.

Demarai Gray is their top scorer in the league with just five goals, the midfield has lacked creativity - Abdoulaye Doucoure is the top assister, setting up only four strikes - and Jordan Pickford has kept a meagre three clean sheets.

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A new striker to add cover and competition for Dominic Calvert-Lewin would perhaps be what the club's supporters want given his injury issues and Salomon Rondon's struggles, but it's easy to understand why Benitez wants to build from the bottom up.

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