Everton are in talks with Southampton over a deal for Danish midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – but could face competition from Tottenham Hotspur.
The 24-year-old was stripped of the Saints captaincy after telling manager Ralph Hasenhuttl he will not extend his contract, which has 12 months to run.
Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti refused to be drawn on any interest in Hojberg after the 1-1 draw against Aston Villa but discussions have started between the clubs with a potential offer on the table of £14m plus add-ons.
Ancelotti said: “I don’t want to talk about this because I think it is unfair to talk about a player at a different club in this moment.”
Southampton are likely to demand more, or perhaps players in exchange, and they will hope Spurs spark a transfer battle with Everton by firming up their long-standing interest in the player who came to St Mary’s from Bayern Munich in 2016.
Spurs may wish to include defender Kyle Walker-Peters, who has been on loan at Southampton this season in any potential deal and it has been suggested Hojbjerg prefers a move to London.
Everton, however, have made the first move and it remains to be seen how Southampton, the player – and indeed Spurs – respond.