By Harvey Byrne
Everton target Islam Slimani has handed in a transfer request, according to a report.
The Sun have claimed that the 28-year-old striker has requested to leave Sporting Lisbon after the Portuguese giants received a £16.75million bid from an unknown English club.
The report names Everton and Premier League rivals Southampton as two clubs who have been interested in the Algeria international.
The experienced striker only signed a new contract in Portugal last summer, but it was on the understanding that he would be allowed to leave the club if Sporting received a suitable offer.
It is now understood that the player has requested to leave as he is convinced that his valuation had been met.
The striker also rejected a new contract this week and refused to even attend a meeting with club chiefs.
Sporting manager Jorge Jesus made a bold claim about his striker recently when he compared Slimani to Leicester sensatin Jamie Vardy.
“Vardy was this year’s revelation,” said Jesus, as quoted by The Sun. “People say that Slimani wouldn’t be able to play for Leicester, but I disagree.
“In England, if he is guided by a manager who knows a lot about football, he can score double the goals Vardy does.”
The Algerian international scored 27 goals in 33 appearances in the Portugese top flight last season as his side narrowly lost out on the league title by two points to Benfica.
Slimani is under contract with the country giants until 2020, but it is claimed by Portuguese publication Noticias ao Minuto that the striker has a release clause of £24million in that agreement.
The highly rated forward joined Sporting from Algeria in 2013 and he has since notched up 56-goals in three seasons.
Everton boss Ronald Koeman is looking for more firepower upfront with Romelu Lukaku’s future in doubt at the club, while Oumar Niasse is expected to leave the club and Arouna Kone has scored just eight goals for the Merseysiders in his three-years at the club.
In other Everton transfer news, Toffees Under-23 goalkeeper Russell Griffiths has joined Cheltenham Town on a six-month loan.