Everton transfer rumours: Toffees want La Liga ace who would make major difference to the side's starting XI

Real Betis defender and Everton target Emerson Royal in La Liga action

Everton are interested in signing defender Emerson Royal in the upcoming transfer window, according to Sport.

What's the latest news on Emerson Royal?

The Brazilian full-back is set to move back to Barcelona at the end of the season after spending the last two years at Real Betis. He has recently undertaken an oral exam in order to gain Spanish citizenship prior to his return to Catalonia.

However, he does not want to simply be a back-up option for Sergino Dest, and he could look for a move away from the Spanish giants if that looks likely to be the case.

Emerson has a number of potential suitors including Villarreal and AC Milan, but he would reportedly favour a move to the Premier League, opening the door for Arsenal and Everton who have been keeping tabs on his progress.

What are Emerson's stats this season?

The 22-year-old has started 33 of Betis' 37 league games this season, establishing himself as the first-choice right back at the club. In these matches, he has scored once and provided four assists.

As per WhoScored, Emerson has completed 88 tackles in La Liga - more than any Everton player has managed in the Premier League. He has also made more interceptions (61) than any of Carlo Ancelotti's men.

Have Everton tried to sign him before?

Indeed they have, and they made their move only last summer. 

Back in August, they tried to bring Emerson to Goodison Park on an initial two-year loan deal, with the option to buy the defender at the end of this contract.

However, Barcelona preferred selling Emerson permanently and the move fell through, leaving Emerson to play at Betis for another year.

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How would Emerson's arrival impact Everton's starting XI?

Ancelotti has been switching between a back three and a back four throughout this season, and it has become pretty clear that he is not happy with his defence right now, particularly the right-back position.

Seamus Coleman turns 33 later this year, and it appears that his best days are behind him, while Ben Godfrey and Mason Holgate have tried to cover this role at times, but both are naturally centre-backs.

This explains why Ancelotti has played a back three on a number of occasions, with wing-backs dropping in when defending to make it a back five - he doesn't trust his defence.

By bringing in Emerson, someone who has played right-back week in, week out all season, this would hand Ancelotti the opportunity to revert to a back four, which across the course of his coaching career has been his favoured defensive line-up.

Having been at the club for almost 18 months, it still feels as though the Italian manager has not pieced together the side that he wants yet. If he can get Emerson, he will be one step closer to having the team that he desires, who can start challenging higher up the table.

*All stats correct prior to Wednesday's action

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