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Everton have moved ahead of Arsenal in the £30million fight for Getafe centre-half Djene Dakonam.
Toffees boss Marco Silva fears he is not going to be able to keep Chelsea loanee Kurt Zouma at Goodison.
So he has turned to Togo international Dakonam, 27, who had an outstanding season as Getafe finished fifth in La Liga.
Arsenal boss Unai Emery is also keen on Dakonam.
But Emery’s transfer budget is a modest £45m and the Gunners chief believes he is about to be priced out of the market by Everton’s intervention.
Arsenal’s budget was massively hit by their failure to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
The Gunners failed to win three crucial games against Brighton, Crystal Palace and Wolves as they finished a point behind hated rivals Spurs.
Emery still had a get-out clause but failure to beat Chelsea in the Europa League final left them without a place in Europe’s premier competition for the third season running.
Silva on the other hand enjoyed a solid end to the season as the Toffees climbed the table, finishing eighth.
Everton chiefs will hand him a mega budget to chase for a top-four finish next season.