EVERTON are ready to turn their attention to Middlesbrough centre-half Ben Gibson after opting out of a bidding war for Newcastle United defender Jamaal Lascelles.

New Everton boss Marco Silva is determined to make defensive changes this summer, and had identified Lascelles as his number one target as he looks to bring down the average age of a back four that was reliant on Phil Jagielka and Ashley Williams for much of last season.

Everton officials have flagged up their interest in Lascelles with their counterparts at St James’ Park, but Newcastle are reluctant to sell the 24-year-old and are adamant they will not even consider offers that are less than £30m.

With Chelsea and Tottenham also expected to lodge offers for Lascelles this summer, the Newcastle hierarchy are anticipating a flurry of interest towards the end of the transfer window and are confident they will receive a high price if they eventually allow Lascelles to leave.

That has scared off Everton, with Silva having accepted that he will have to keep a close eye on funds this summer. Everton’s major shareholder, Farhad Moshiri, sanctioned a huge outlay last summer, and is keen to see the current squad pruned before new arrivals are added. In effect, Silva has accepted he will have to sell to buy, with last season’s wage bill understood to have been close to £140m.

Spending around £30m on Lascelles would take up a huge chunk of Everton’s anticipated summer budget, so Silva has put forward Gibson’s name as an alternative option.

The Everton board would hope to sign the Middlesbrough centre-half for around £20m, making him a cheaper option than Lascelles.

Gibson was the subject of strong Premier League interest last summer, but Boro chairman Steve Gibson rejected two offers from Stoke City in order to hold on to his nephew.

Gibson started all bar one of Boro’s Championship matches last term, and Tony Pulis will be extremely reluctant to lose him this summer.

However, there is an acceptance that after Garry Monk spent more than £50m on transfers last summer, there will be a need to keep net expenditure in check during the current transfer window.

Selling either Gibson or Adama Traore would potentially raise £20-30m, a sum that would enable Pulis to complete all of his proposed incoming deals.

The Boro boss is keen to sign around four senior players this summer, and will also be looking to supplement his academy squad.

His scouting team are interested in Darlington defender Josh Heaton, having been impressed with the 21-year-old’s performance at a recent trials day for Jamie Vardy’s V9 Academy.

Heaton, who was previously with Preston, attended a week-long event as Vardy’s academy gave non-league players the chance to play in front of 150 scouts from professional clubs.

The defender, who made 21 National League North appearances for Darlington last season, impressed in two showcase games at Manchester City’s Etihad Campus, and Boro are keen to tie him down to a professional deal.

Meanwhile, Newcastle goalkeeper Freddie Woodman and Boro defender Dael Fray have both been named in the Toulon Tournament Team of the Tournament following England Under-21s success in the competition.