By Joe Ellis

15th May, 2022 | 9:19am

Everton want to sign Derby County attacker Tom Lawrence

Everton have identified Derby County attacking midfielder Tom Lawrence as a primary summer target on a free transfer, according to the Daily Mail.

The 28-year-old is the current Rams captain and has earned plenty of plaudits this season despite their relegation from the Championship after having 21 points deducted for financial reasons.

None more so than from his manager, and former Toffee, Wayne Rooney who branded the Welsh international “magnificent” after scoring a brace to see Derby beat Sheffield United at Pride Park back in January [club website].

Fellow relegation battles Leeds United would also like to sign him as a free agent as would Anderlecht in Belgium but four clubs could try to buy him now to jump the queue.

Recently promoted Bournemouth and Fulham are two of those who would like to sign Lawrence along with the third team in the survival scrap, Burnley, and already-relegated Norwich City.

Game-changer

He might not be the first player you think of when you’re looking to build a solid Premier League side but he can offer an awful lot more than many people realise.

His dribbling ability has seen him be a menace to defenders in the second tier for some time and he probably should have been a top-flight player by now because he definitely has the ability to be one.

But he’s not just a one-trick pony, like Adama Traore for example, he also has the end product to go within and he has dictated pretty much every Championship game he’s played for the Rams, despite their difficult 12 months.

Frank Lampard has to ensure the Toffees’ Premier League survival first though to give themselves the best chance possible to sign him and make him the replacement for Donny van de Beek when he heads back to Manchester United.

It won’t be the most popular or talked-about transfer of the window but it could go very under the radar and shock a lot of people if it happens.

In other Everton news, Sporting Lisbon’s manager has spoken about Joao Virginia’s future in Portugal after he kept a clean sheet on Saturday (14 May).

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