Everton are close to completing a move for Algeria striker Ishak Belfodil after agreeing a £10.4m fee with Standard Liège. Steve Walsh, Everton’s director of football, has already signed Ademola Lookman from Charlton for £10m in this window and is also set to complete the transfer of Morgan Schneiderlin from Manchester United for an initial £22m after he arrived for a medical on Wednesday.
But after a £15m bid for Atlanta’s Ivory Coast midfielder Franck Kessié was rejected on Tuesday, Everton now look set to add to their squad with the arrival of the player, who is 25 on Thursday, that was born in Algeria but began his professional career at Lyon after a spell at Paris Saint-Germain.
Belfodil has scored 10 goals in 21 matches for the Belgian side this season after joining last summer from Baniyas Club in Abu Dhabi following difficult spells at Parma and Internazionale, the latter a club he made just 10 appearances for despite signing for around £5m in July 2013. A former France youth international, he was purchased by Parma for the second time in 2014 but scored just one goal in 23 appearances before terminating his contract when the club was hit by financial difficulties.
Despite signing a two-year contract with Baniyas, Belfodil was offered to several clubs in England and France last summer before eventually joining Standard. He has since become a regular under Aleksandar Jankovic, who replaced Yannick Ferrera as coach in September.
Under contract until 2018, it is understood that Everton’s original offer of £8.5m was rejected last week but an agreement was reached on Tuesday which is expected to see him sign a three-year deal. Walsh, who left the Premier League champions Leicester in the summer to take up his new post, is believed to have a strong relationship with Belfodil’s agent, who also represents Riyad Mahrez.
After Everton’s defeat to Leicester in the FA Cup third round at the weekend, manager Ronald Koeman appeared frustrated with the lack of new arrivals and admitted he hoped the poor performance would “open their eyes”. “Maybe we will get further on our improvement as a team,” he said. “That is really what the team needs. That is all about what happens this month. I have that in mind and the board knows because we spoke together about what we and the team needs. That is the job of Steve Walsh.”
Belfodil is currently training at Standard’s winter camp in Spain but is expected to fly to Merseyside to discuss personal terms in the next 48 hours having not been selected for Algeria’s squad for the Africa Cup of Nations.
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