By Harvey Byrne
Arsenal have hijacked Everton’s move for prolific Spanish striker Lucas Perez, according to a report.
The Daily Mail claim that the Gunners have tracked the 27-year-old for the past year and that they are now understood to have made a rival bid just as the Toffees were looking to push through the deal.
Spanish newspaper Sport claimed on Wednesday that Everton will pay the £17million release clause in his contract before doubling his wages, which would total around £32,000-a-week.
However, the Mail reports that the Goodison Park club are wary that negotiations have not been straightforward for the Spanish striker.
It is also claimed that Valencia wanted the Deportivo La Coruna forward, but on enquiring the La Liga club were told that the player was close to an agreement with Arsenal.
The Telegraph claimed on Monday that director of football Steve Walsh had held negotiations with representatives of the Spanish striker and now the Goodison Park club have made their offer.
The former Leicester scout is said to be a big fan of Lucas, as he is commonly known, and tried to sign the forward while he was working for the Foxes.
Lucas has similar attributes to Leicester striker Jamie Vardy and is seen as a forward who could play either alongside Romelu Lukaku, or on his own in the Belgian’s absence.
The striker joined Deportivo last summer for £1.3million after spending the previous season on loan from PAOK.
The forward was in superb form last season and his 17 La Liga goals helped Deportivo escape the drop from Spain’s top flight.
Everton manager Ronald Koeman is currently looking to bolster his squad after being appointed as their new manager.
The Merseyside giants have started their first Premier League matches without a recognised striker on the pitch, but Lukaku did make his return from the bench as Everton beat West Brom at the weekend.
The powerful Belgian striker started in Tuesday’s EFL Cup clash against Yeovil, while fellow striker Arouna Kone finished the match with two goals.
In other Everton transfer news, Sunderland manager David Moyes has rejected the Toffees bid for Lamine Kone and insists the defender is going nowhere this summer.