By Alex Stevens

Everton have tabled a £15.6million bid for Atalanta midfield enforcer Franck Kessie, according to a report.

Sky Italy journalist Gianluca Di Marzio claimed on his website on Tuesday night that the cash-rich Merseyside club had turned their attention to prising the highly rated anchorman from Serie A.

It is said that Everton have made the offer for Kessie, 20, in a bid to win the race for his signature this month.

But Di Marzio reports that Atalanta do not want cash in on their prize asset and have rejected the bid from the Merseyside outfit.

Chelsea are also hot on the trail of Kessie, with widespread reports claiming that the Premier League leaders are leading the race to sign him.

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The youngster, who is at the African Cup of Nations with the Ivory Coast, has been in outstanding form for Atalanta this season, scoring a remarkable seven goals from 17 matches from his defensive midfield position.

Everton’s bid for Kessie after it emerged on Tuesday night that they have agreed a £22million fee with Manchester United for midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin.

Football Insider verdict:

The bid for Kessie is a real statement of intent from Everton. Coming after reports on Tuesday night that they had agreed a £22m fee with United for Schneiderlin and days after signing teenager winger Ademola Lookman for £11million, there is a clear sense that the cash-rich Merseysiders mean business this month. Koeman knows his squad is not good enough, and that a short and medium term plan needs to rectify the deficiencies. Kessie has caught the eye of Europe’s leading clubs this season with his goal-laden displays from central midfield. Everton have taken the first step to win what is likely to be a race with plenty of riders.

In other Everton transfer news, the club have tabled a mega striker offer.

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