Toffees eye Spanish stopper
By Francisco Acedo
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Skysports.com can reveal that Everton are monitoring Albacete's highly-promising young centre back Pablo Ibanez.
The Premiership outfit despatched chief scout Robbie Cooke to watch the Spanish Under-21 international in action on Sunday in Albacete's league clash with Valladolid.
The imposing 22-year-old did not have one of his most difficult afternoons in a comfortable 2-0 home win, but was once again quietly impressive.
Ibanez, linked with Manchester City last season, has been an ever-present for his club this term starting all 29 league games to date in Albacete's solid return to the Spanish top-flight.
The Carlos Belmonte outfit are sitting 14th in La Primera but are some seven points clear of Celta Vigo who currently occupy the last relegation spot.
This is due in no small part to their comparatively good defensive record which is the second best in the lower half of the table.
Cooke refused to comment on his mission to view Ibanez, but the player himself told skysports.com that he was flattered by the interest in him.
"I don't know anything more than the fact he was here, and nobody spoke to me," stated Ibanez.
"But I am delighted that I have been linked with one of the English league's most historic clubs."
The stopper has previously admitted an ambition to play in The Premiership, but concedes any transfer will depend on his club.
"Everything depends on the club because I have a contract with them," he continued.
"I don't want to go mad about these rumours between now and the end of the season."
Ibanez is under contract with Albacete until June 2005, and his release fee stands at some é¼12 million (£8 million).