By Derek Smithson
Everton are prepared to smash their transfer record to sign Celtic forward Moussa Dembele, according to a report.
The Scottish Sun claim that the Toffees are eyeing the 20-year-old as a direct replacement for Romelu Lukaku, who is set to leave Goodison Park in a deal worth over £80million to join either Chelsea or Manchester United.
It is understood that the Merseyside club have identified Dembele as a replacement, who scored 32 goals for Celtic last season across all competitions.
The report details that Everton will eclipse the £30million they recently spent on Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford to secure a deal for the prolific striker.
It is believed he has caught attention from the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Man United, Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Juventus and AC Milan already this summer.
However, Everton boss Ronald Koeman is prepared to cough up money for Dembele and give him the guarantee of regular first-team football.
Dembele has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the last 12 months since he completed his move from Fulham to Celtic.
The France Under-21 international helped the Bhoys clinch a domestic treble and is being tipped for a bright future.
He netted 32 goals in just 49 appearances last season and has proved his qualities in front of goal.
Meanwhile, Lukaku looks set to leave the Merseyside club and he scored 26 goals in 39 appearances last season.
Football Insider verdict:
Everton will have money to spend if they do sell Lukaku for an £80million-plus fee and bringing in a top quality striker will be a priority. The 24-year-old will leave a huge void in the Toffees starting line-up and it will be very hard for anyone to replicate the goalscoring form he showed at Goodison Park. However, Celtic ace Dembele could be an exciting signing for Everton and he certainly looks like being a future superstar. The forward was in brilliant form last year in Scottish football and did managed three goals in the Champions League too. However, it would be a big ask for the 20-year-old to walk straight into the Everton starting XI and Koeman may need to bring in more than just Dembele to fill the Lukaku void.
In other Everton transfer news, they are closing in on a deal for a La Liga forward.