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Everton make firm £18m bid to beat Mourinho to Prem midfielder

Everton have launched an £18m bid to sign Southampton midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

Hojberg, who has been stripped of the captaincy after refusing a new deal at St Mary’s, is reported to be keen on a move to Tottenham. Kyle Walker-Peters, who is on loan from Spurs, could be used as a makeweight in the deal.

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However, it is Everton who have made the first approach for the Dane. As per the Daily Telegraph, the Toffees have submitted a straight £18m cash bid for the 24-year-old.

Carlo Ancelotti is keen to rebuild his side at Goodison after seeing inconsistent performances halt their progress. The Italian sees central midfield as a key area in which to improve and Hojbjerg has been identified.

Saints are likely to reject the offer from Everton and are believed to value Hojbjerg at nearer the £25m mark. But a deal could yet spark Tottenham into life with Jose Mourinho also looking to bolster his midfield.

Any swoop from Tottenham is likely to spell the end of Tanguy Ndombele’s time in North London. The Frenchman has struggled to make an impact under Mourinho and has been tipped to leave.

Mourinho savagely questioned the midfielder earlier this season, with criticism coming in after defeat at Burnley.

Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl was playing it cool when asked about a potential swap involving Walker-Peters and Hojbjerg.

“I don’t concentrate so much on the transfer market to be honest,” he said. “We have some targets but it is such a busy time. I have to focus on getting a performance from my team and the opponents we are facing.

“It costs a lot of energy at the moment to find the right game plan. You can imagine if you are playing teams like (Manchester) City and United you need a perfect game otherwise you have no chance.

“So there is a lot of preparing, especially with two or three days between games.

“My scouts are giving me some information in the players that are of interest to us, we are busy in the background.”


Saints chase Salisu

The Austrian did concede his recruitment department were looking at centre-backs this summer, with the transfer window due to open on July 27.

But again he declined to comment on speculation linking Southampton with Real Valladolid defender Mohammed Salisu.

“It’s right that we are looking in this position, but I don’t want to discuss or agree to these rumours,” Hasenhuttl said. “We always have some players in our minds and centre-back position is a position we want to do something.

“I think we have a little longer transfer window maybe to face. It’s important we don’t make as many signings but the signings we will make they must be perfect.

“We can be earlier. This season we can do it because we are on the safe side of being in the Premier League next season. Last season it was different. We try to take this advantage and get the right players at the right moment.”


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