By Harvey Byrne
Everton are confident they will win the race to sign Charlton winger Ademola Lookman in January, according to a report.
The Independent claims that Toffees director of football Steve Walsh has identified the 19-year-old as the best replacement to injured star Yannick Bolasie.
The £25million summer signing suffered a knee ligament injury earlier in the month against Manchester United, ruling him out for the rest of the season.
This has led Ronald Koeman to target a winger in January and it is reported that a fee rising to £11million would obtain the Charlton ace.
It is believed that the League One club are likely to settle on an initial £8million with £3million in add-ons after the Addicks were keen on putting a loan back clause in the deal.
It is claimed that Arsenal, Liverpool, Crystal Palace and Celtic are all keeping tabs on the situation, but they are yet to have made an offer for the young star.
The south London club rejected a £6million bid from rivals Palace in the summer, but it is stated now that manager Karl Robinson has no other options but to sell Lookman in January.
The young starlet has continued to impress in England’s third tier with six goals and one assist in the Charlton team currently sat in 11th in the league table.
Football Insider verdict:
Lookman would be a superb signing for Everton in the future, but it would be unfair on the youngster to claim he is the natural replacement for Bolasie. The England Under-20 international has never tasted the pressure of playing in the Premier League, while he has just 24 appearances to his name in the Championship. The wings are a particular weak spot for the Toffees with none of their current senior players performing on a consistent level. Therefore, Koeman should sign Lookman for the future, but he also needs to delve into the market again for a more proven attacker if he is to improve on Everton’s previous poor season.
In other Everton transfer news, the Toffees have been installed as favourites to sign this £20million-rated centre-back.