Northern Ireland stars Jonny Evans and Chris Brunt are being lined up as big-money summer buys by David Moyes — at either Everton or Aston Villa.
In-demand Moyes has been targeted by Villa owner Randy Lerner to replace Gerard Houllier, with the Midlands club ready to pay £7 million |compensation to get their man.
Moyes would be handed a sizeable transfer budget at Villa Park and Manchester United ace Evans and West Brom skipper Brunt are on the Scot’s radar.
Even if he turns down Lerner's approach, the highly-rated Moyes is determined to get his men.
Evans, whose future at Old Trafford has been put in question by the imminent arrival of £16.5 million teenager Phil Jones from Blackburn Rovers, has been a long-time target for Moyes.
The Toffees failed with a loan bid for the 23-year old two years ago and Moyes has never given up hope of landing the versatile defender.
Evans is understood to be keen to remain at the Premier League champions with fellow defenders Wes Brown and John O'Shea close to joining Sunderland along with |Derry-born Republic midfielder Darron Gibson.
Sir Alex Ferguson, who once described Evans as “the future of Manchester United” when he allowed Gerard Pique leave, is yet to decide if the Newtownabbey lad will be sacrificed.
But a move looks likely with Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Chris Smalling and now Jones ahead of him in the pecking order.
Brunt was already a known summer target for Moyes and cash-strapped Everton.
The ex-Sheffield Wednesday man has been the subject of an £8million enquiry from Merseyside rivals Liverpool.
Although he has insisted he is happy to stay at West Brom, the Baggies may be tempted to cash in to fund their summer |spending.
For the full story, see this week's Sunday Life.