The Daily Mirror has reported that Everton are close to completing a £28.5 million move for Axel Witsel.
The Zenit St Petersburg midfielder is thought to be one of Blues boss Ronald Koeman’s main transfer targets as he begins to reshape his first-team squad.
And the Dutchman is believed to be close to capturing Witsel ahead of Premier League rivals Liverpool and Stoke City, as well as Serie A side Napoli.
The Toffees are rumoured to be offering Witsel £100,000-a-week to relocate to Goodison Park – a wage offer that Napoli and Stoke are unable to match.
Meanwhile, the Belgium star, who featured for his national side at the Euro 2016 Championship in France, is also alleged to have turned down Everton’s Merseyside rivals Liverpool.
Witsel is in the final year of his current deal with Zenit, but the Russian outfit are keen to recoup as much of their £34 million transfer outlay as possible.
Witsel’s father, Axel Witsel Snr, recently stated that his son’s future lay at either Napoli or Everton.
At the time he said: “It’s true I met with (Napoli sporting director) Cristiano Giuntoli in Brussels. It was a positive discussion.
“Everton’s interest is concrete, like Napoli’s, so the negotiation is ongoing. To see if the marriage happens we have to see the conditions and understand what is the best destination for the player.”
Witsel joined Zenit from Benfica in July 2012, featuring on 156 occasions and picking up the Russian League title and Russian Cup along the way.