Everton are set to approach Lazio over Joaquin Correa if James Rodriguez completes his expected move to Atletico Madrid.
Rodriguez is looking to leave Goodison Park this summer, with new boss Rafael Benitez willing to let him leave for the right price.
The Colombian joined Everton on a free transfer last summer and was excellent at times under Carlo Ancelotti.
Benitez was asked ahead of the season about the future of Rodriguez and refused to rule out his departure.
“At the beginning of the pre-season, it is not easy,” Benitez said.
“I think you can see he has the quality on the ball, but still his fitness is not where we are expecting.
“So, it is normal at this time. So, we will see. Obviously, we have more training sessions and more games.
“We will see how he is going on and every player. It depends on them, if they can make a difference or not.
“But at the moment, it is seeing how they progress and how they can improve. But nobody can argue about the quality of James.”
But the 30-year-old has now reportedly been told that he is not part of Benitez’s plans.
And the player himself has given several hints that he is on the verge of leaving the Toffees.
‘Never stop believing, Rodriguez tweeted earlier this week, accompanied by a smiling emoji and the word ‘soon’ with an arrow.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Rodriguez said during an Instagram Live hosted on his profile.
“I don’t know, I don’t know where I’m going to play.
“You know that in football and in life you don’t know anything but all I know is that I’ve been training hard, preparing well, training for myself and that’s it.
“It’s complicated. Wherever I’m wanted. Someone has to be at a place they’re wanted.”
According to Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport (via Express), Everton will sell Rodriguez to Atletico and then ‘dive in’ to rival Inter Milan, Tottenham and Arsenal to the signing of Correa.
Correa scored eight goals and assisted a further four in Serie A last season.