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Not Watford – Here is why Everton would benefit better from signing this 28-year-old defensive beast for £6m

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Everton Opinion: Toffees should beat Watford to sign Juan Ramirez from Girona

According to claims from Spanish source AS, Premier League duo Everton and Watford are set to battle it out for Girona centre-back Juanpe Ramirez in the summer transfer window.

The 28-year-old was one of the stars of Giron’s La Liga campaign this past season which ended in relegation and the Premier League clubs are looking to capitalise on the situation, with AS reporting that the Toffees and the Hornets are willing to pay £6million for the defender.

Juanpe Ramirez might not be one of the household names in the La Liga but the 28-year-old’s stocks have been on the rise ever since his move to Girona back in 2016.

The centre-back was one of the architects of Girona’ promotion-winning campaign in the Segunda Division in his debut season, as the club secured promotion to the La Liga for the first time in their history.

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Ramirez played a key role at the heart of the defence in the 2017-18 season and chipped in with 5 goals in the top-flight to ensure that Girona preserved their La Liga status.

Things, however, weren’t the same for the 28-year-old and his club this time around, as Girona suffered relegation back to the second-tier, despite the centre-back’s consistently solid displays at the back.

AS understands that Ramirez is reluctant to accept the option of playing in the Segunda Division after having established himself as a regular in the La Liga. However, he is not short of suitors and given that Girona are under pressure to cut their costs, they are likely to be open to selling the 28-year-old should a suitable offer be put on the table.

Having plied his trade predominantly in the second-tier of Spanish football with the likes of Las Palmas, Racing Santander and Real Valladolid before rising to prominence in the La Liga with Girona, Juanpe Ramirez lacks an eye-catching profile but he could prove to be a useful signing for both Watford and Everton.

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Both the clubs are likely to look at defensive reinforcements this summer and the 28-year-old certainly fits the bill. While the Hornets might consider him as an upgrade on the likes of Craig Cathcart, Adrian Mariappa and Christian Kabasele, Ramirez has the talent to add much-needed cover at Goodison Park next season.

To put things into perspective, Everton could do themselves a world of good and get one over their Premier League rivals if they manage to win the race for the 28-year-old relegated La Liga star this summer. A new No.9 and is likely to be high on manager Marco Silva’s wishlist but the Toffees also have plenty of other issues to sort out ahead of the upcoming season.

Loanees Andre Gomes and Kurt Zouma played a key role for them in the Premier League this season but it remains to be seen whether Everton manage to sign either of them permanently. Zouma was as solid as a rock at the back but Chelsea’s transfer embargo means that the Blues might not be open to letting the Frenchman depart permanently.

Veteran centre-back and club-captain Phil Jagielka is also out of contract at the end of the month and he is likely to head for the exit door at Goodison Park.

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Mason Holgate played a bit-part role in the Premier League under Silva before being shipped out on loan to West Brom in the Championship and it is still unclear what the manager has in mind for the youngster next season.

Michael Keane was arguably Everton’s most impressive performer at the back this season but Yerry Mina’s struggles with injuries and the Colombian’s inconsistent run of form should prompt the Toffees to invest in another centre-back.

Standing at 6ft. 3 inches, Juanpe Ramirez is a tough-tackling centre-back who is known for his supreme aerial ability and high levels of concentration and composure at the back. A good reader of the game at the back, the centre-back boasts of good reflexes and has also earned plaudits for his decision-making and positioning.

The Spaniard is capable of cutting out attacks with crucial tackles and interceptions, while also boasting of a good range of passing. He averaged 3.3 aerial duels, 3.5 successful long balls, 1.5 tackles, 1.7 interceptions and 4 clearances per game in the La Liga this term, figures which are a clear testament to his well-rounded attributes as a centre-back.

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Everton need to ensure that they have enough cover at the back next season and Juanpe Ramirez could prove to be a good addition for a reasonable price.

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