By Alex Stevens

Everton are closing in on the signing of Norwegian wonderkid Rafik Zekhnini, according to a report.

Norwegian publication Varden claim the Merseysiders have been given permission to hold talks with the striker, 18, by his club Odd.

It is said that Zeknini has been told he can travel to England to discuss terms with Everton.

Questions arose about the Norway Under-21 international’s future when he failed to attend a recent club event.

“Rafik is not here today because he has been given permission to travel and meet a club that have shown interest in him,” Odd CEO Einar Håndlykken told Varden.

“I will not comment on this other than that it is a European top club.

“We have received bids on him, but can not say anything about which club this is.”

The forward has been in excellent form this season in the Norwegian Tippeligaen, netting five goals and six assists in 27 matches in all competitions.

He said: “I have been allowed to talk to other clubs, and both I and my family are very happy with how Odd has handled this. Things happen fast in football.”

Zekhninis agent Jim Solbakken promised that Odd will be suitably compensated with the transfer fee being paid.

Everton are currently seventh in the Premier League under Ronald Koeman and are benefiting from new investment from wealthy owner Farhad Moshiri.

In other Everton transfer news, the seven players on Koeman’s shopping list have been revealed by owner Farhad Moshiri.