EXCLUSIVE By Pete O’Rourke

Everton central midfielder Joe Williams is closing in on a transfer to Bolton Wanderers, Football Insider sources understands.

A number of Championship clubs, including Bristol City, Birmingham City and Hull City have expressed an interest in Williams this summer, but Bolton are in pole position to land the highly-rated Everton midfielder.

A well placed source has told Football Insider that the move of the 21-year-old to the north-west outfit is more likely to be a loan than a permanent deal.

Williams’ arrival would come as a major boost for Bolton boss Phil Parkinson considering the stiff competition he faced for the former England Under-20 international’s signature.

Williams enjoyed a successful spell on loan at Barnsley last season, featuring in 38 games in all competitions with Everton turning down an offer from Barnsley to make the move permanent.

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Williams is highly-regarded at Everton having come through the ranks at Goodison Park and he is under contract until 2020.

However, with Everton bringing in a number of new players this summer Williams’ first-team opportunities look limited for this season and the club feel it would be best served by going out on loan to get regular first-team football under his belt.

In other Everton news, a defender has agreed the terms of a Goodison Park transfer.