Belfast Telegraph

West Brom reject Leicester's £10 million bid for Jonny Evans


By Adam McKendry

West Bromwich Albion have rejected a £10m offer from Leicester City for Northern Ireland defender Jonny Evans as they look set to name him captain at the Hawthorns for next season.

The centre-back, who has excelled for Northern Ireland over the past few years in both their run to Euro 2016 and in their qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup, is a target for the 2016 Premier League champions.

Manager Craig Shakespeare is trying to assemble a squad that will take the Foxes back to the top of English football, and they are also on the verge of bringing in Hull City defender Harry Maguire.

It is unclear whether their pursuit of Evans is a back-up plan should their move for Maguire fall through, or if they wish to bring both in to bolster their rearguard.

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However, the move seems unlikely to happen either way as Evans' current club West Brom are not interested in selling the 29-year old, who is considered to be a key member of their back four.

It is also understood that the Baggies are keen on keeping the Northern Irishman at the club in order to make him captain for next season, replacing outgoing midfielder Darren Fletcher.

That would mean it would take a fairly sizable offer from Leicester in order to get the West Brom chiefs to even consider letting him move away.

Given that Arsenal were reportedly willing to pay £16m for him last summer - ultimately going for German international Shkodran Mustafi instead - it is likely that any deal for him this time around would have to start in a similar range, if not higher, given the season he has just had for both club and country.

Evans made the move to West Brom from Manchester United in 2015 for £6m and has since been a mainstay in the heart of the Baggies' defence, forming a strong partnership with international team-mate Gareth McAuley.

He was named Players' Player of the Season in his first year at the Hawthorns, such was his immediate impact with his new club.

The experienced Belfast man made 31 appearances in the Premier League for West Brom last season, adding two goals to their cause, and was a very close runner-up to Ben Foster for their Player of the Season award again.

In all, Evans has made 207 Premier League appearances for United, Sunderland and West Brom, scoring seven goals.

While not landing Evans would be a blow to Leicester's transfer plans, they do look set to gain Maguire from Hull for an initial fee of £12m.

The 24-year old has completed a medical at the King Power Stadium with personal details to be agreed before the transfer can be officially completed.

It is believed that add-ons to the deal will take the final total up to somewhere in the region of £17m, while Maguire's former club Sheffield United are set to profit too thanks to a sell-on clause they agreed with Hull.

Maguire will provide some defensive depth in the Leicester squad behind regular starters Robert Huth and captain Wes Morgan, who have been excellent for the former Premier League champions but have found themselves playing through injuries on more than one occasion.

Belfast Telegraph


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