By Harvey Byrne
Everton’s interest in midfielder Axel Witsel is concrete, according to the midfielder’s dad.
The Goodison Park club have been strongly linked with a £30million move for the Belgium international and the player’s dad has confirmed their interest in an interview.
Witsel played in Belgium’s 3-1 defeat against Wales on Friday evening and it is believed that he’s ready to leave Russian club Zenit St. Petersburg.
The defensive midfielder’s dad Thierry Witsel has been quoted as telling Italian radio station CRC that Everton are in a race with Serie A side Napoli for his son’s services.
“It’s true I met with (Napoli sporting director) Cristiano Guintoli in Brussels,” said Thierry Witsel to CRC.
“It was positive discussion and there could be interest by both parties, so we’ll see how things evolve.
“Everton’s interest is concrete, like Napoli’s, so the negotiation is ongoing and to see if the marriage happens we have to see the conditions and understand what is the best destination for the player.”
As reported by Football Insider, Everton are ready to pay Witsel more than £100,000-a-week to prise him from Russia.
It would be regarded as huge statement by the Toffees’ new majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri if Everton are successful in making the central midfielder the first marquee signing of Ronald Koeman’s reign.
It is understood that the 27-year-old who has a year left on his contract favours a move to a Champions League club, so the Toffees may not secure their target after a disappointing 11th placed finish in the 2015-16 season.
The Belgian central midfielder starred for the Russian outfit in the recently completed season as he made 41 appearances across all competitions and played a key role during Zenit’s European campaign where they made the round of 16.
Witsel has been an integral part of Belgium’s own “golden generation” since making his debut in 2008 and has featured in 73 encounters for his country.
In other Everton news, the Toffees are in the race to sign Mateo Kovačić.