Everton are in advanced talks to sign giant Carlisle United defender Jarrad Branthwaite, Football Insider can reveal.
The Merseyside club had an offer for the centre-back, 17, rejected last week, as first revealed by Football Insider, but are confident of agreeing a fee in the coming days as negotiations continue.
An Everton source has told Football Insider the club will submit a new offer for Branthwaite as they look to finalise the transfer this week.
The League Two club accept they are set to lose Branthwaite, who has been the subject of strong interest from top-flight clubs ahead of this window.
Carlisle are holding out for a fee of £1million-plus, including add-ons, for the defender.
Everton’s opening offer was around £500,000 but they have told the fourth-tier outfit a new bid is going in imminently.
Branthwaite has also attracted strong interest from Leicester City, Newcastle, Aston Villa and Scottish duo Celtic and Rangers.
But Everton have moved into pole position to get a deal done and make the young defender their first January signing.
Branthwaite has made 14 appearances in all competitions so far this season, all of which have been in the starting XI.
He is under contract with Carlisle until the summer of 2021 after signing a two-year contract with an option at the end of February 2019.
In other Everton news, it can be REVEALED that the club have been blocked in their bid to sign player from Premier League giants who can operate equally well in defence and midfield.