Everton have intensified their efforts to bolster their central defensive options in the January transfer window amid reports that the club's director of football Steve Walsh and chief scout Martyn Glover travelled to France to run the rule over Lille defender Adama Soumaoro during his side's 1-1 draw with struggling Nice.

Despite making up part of a Lille side that finds itself in the bottom three of Ligue 1, Soumaoro, who primarily plays as a centre-half but can also operate at right-back, has attracted interest from the Premier League with his fleeting appearances for the struggling French outfit.

Everton have rediscovered their mean approach to defending under Allardyce - they have shipped just two goals since the former England manager took control on Merseyside - but with Ashley Williams and Phil Jagielka both in the twilight of their careers and doubts remaining over the long-term future of Ramiro Funes Mori, the Toffees are looking to bolster their backline next month as they seek to rectify previous recruitment errors.

Everton's search for a new commanding centre-half led Walsh and Glover to examine Soumaoro, according to the Daily Mail, but Allardyce has a couple of other targets in his mind ahead of next month, which promises to be extremely busy for the Merseysiders in terms of recruitment.

Allardyce is also looking at Porto star Ivan Mercano and West Bromwich Albion centre-half Jonny Evans, who seems destined to leave the Hawthorns in the coming months after the Baggies' attempts to tie him to a new long-term deal fell on deaf ears.

Manchester City and Arsenal have both been credited with an interest in the former Manchester United defender, who has 18 months remaining on his current contract at West Brom.

The Northern Ireland international is believed to be valued at £30m by West Brom, who are willing to sanction a transfer for the 29-year-old if they receive such a fee. Baggies boss Alan Pardew confirmed his side's ambition to see Evans remain in the Midlands, but he knows that may not be in the defender's thinking.

"I think you have to be realistic in these situations. Jonny is a top player, other clubs were interested in him in the summer. We know that and he knows that, we have to be intelligent and straightforward dealing with it," the West Brom boss said, as quoted by the BBC.

"He is under contract for West Brom. He knows he can have those conversations [about a new deal] with us. We will give him the best deal we can possibly go to on the financial side and length of contract, but that might not be the whole thing with Jonny."

With West Brom seemingly relinquishing their cast-iron grip on Evans, Everton boss Allardyce may see fit to further test their resolve with an offer for their prized asset in January, though his immediate will rest on trying to keep his unbeaten record with the Toffees going on Saturday when Premier League champions Chelsea visit Goodison Park.

Adama Soumaoro
Soumaoro is of interest to Everton Getty Images