April 11, 2019 / 4:15 PM / 11 days ago

Everton want to keep Gomes and Zouma, says Silva

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Everton v Arsenal - Goodison Park, Liverpool, Britain - April 7, 2019 Everton manager Marco Silva applauds fans after the match REUTERS/Phil Noble

(Reuters) - Everton manager Marco Silva wants to sign loanees Andre Gomes and Kurt Zouma permanently before the end of the season but the Merseysiders have yet to reach agreement with the parent clubs.

Barcelona midfielder Gomes, 25, has been influential for Everton in recent weeks as they claimed consecutive Premier League wins over Chelsea, West Ham United and Arsenal.

French defender Zouma, on loan from Chelsea, has become a mainstay in defence with 27 league appearances.

Asked if Everton, who are currently ninth in the table, could sign the pair immediately rather than wait for the close season, Silva said: “There’s always a chance.

“They are happy here, which is a good sign. That means they are performing, they are enjoying it and they are helping the team also.

“It’s up to the clubs also. It’s in the players’ minds also and they have to decide together with their own clubs. In the right moment we will do something.”

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s trip to Fulham, Silva has hailed 24-year-old Zouma’s calming influence in defence alongside fellow centre back Michael Keane.

“He has the qualities to be a very, very good central defender — but has all the conditions to improve too,” he added.

“He’s happy in our club, he’s performing well and he’s challenging with the other central defenders in our squad. It’s a big fight for them and Zouma is proving his quality, like the others.”

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris

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