Everton enter race for Fiorentina star Ljajic

Everton are lining up a move for Fiorentina midfielder Adem Ljajić.

The 21-year-old enjoyed a stunning season last year scoring 12 goals in 32 games in all competitions for the Serie A side with his form attracting the interest of AC Milan and Lyon.

The former Partizan Belgrade midfielder, capped 7 times by Serbia, almost joined Manchester United in 2009 but a deal failed to materialise and instead the player moved to Italy 12 months later.

Ljajić initially struggled to make an impact in Tuscany managing just 4 goals and 56 appearances, 27 starts, in his first two seasons however he blossomed last season, emerging as a key player for the Viola scoring 11 Serie A goals.

His impressive form has led to speculation of a summer move and despite his club currently engaging in talks over a new contract the player, who has one year left on his deal, could move on before the end of the transfer window.

Fiorentina are ready to double his salary in a bid to keep the player although the club want to insert a release clause into the new deal.

Tottenham are also keen on the player and the sudden interest has reportedly distracted the midfielder with his club boss Vincenzo Montello telling Gazzetta dello Sport “He’s experiencing an internal conflict,”

“He has not looked very serene in recent days. What can I say, there are economic problems which are not easy.

“I’m willing to wait, just as long as he’s serene, and today he doesn’t look all that serene. I’m still convinced that [staying with Fiorentina] would be the best solution for him.”

The good news for Everton manager Roberto Martinez is that Fiorentina are unlikely to do business with AC Milan making it a straight fight between Spurs, Lyon and the Toffee’s for the youngster’s signature. Fiorentina are likely to ask for a sum in the region of €10 million to secure the services of Ljajić and this would make his a more viable option for Everton with Wigan reportedly looking for £20 million for another target, James McCarthy.

A move to Goodison Park would offer the best chance of regular football but with no European football to offer the club could yet miss out.

Martinez has been busy this summer with four new arrivals already confirmed, in the shape of Barcelona winger Gerard Deulofeu, former Wigan defender Antolin Alcaraz, Spanish goalkeeper Joel Robles and Ivory Coast forward Arouna Kone, however the former Wigan boss is keen to add more faces to his squad.

Trevor Keane is an Irish based sports writer and the author of Gaffers, 50 years of Irish Managers and Running through Walls, the Dave Langan Story.