Espanyol have demanded a meeting with the agent of their sought after striker Sergio Garcia in a bid to ward off interest from Everton and a host of other continental admirers.
The 30-year-old will be inside the final year of his contract in June and the Toffees had hoped to meet his £3m release clause as they seek to replace titanic Chelsea loanee Romelu Lukaku.
Everton have won both their Goodison Park outings since the Belgian returned from injury and they’re 31/50 to make it three against struggling Swansea next time out.
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Not that Garcia, a dead-ringer for rapper Ice T before doing away with his ponytail, will be in Merseyside next season if his owners have anything to say about it.
The Los Periquitos suits will aim to entice the Barcelona academy product to stay on in Catalunya with a bigger contract, with a more forbidding buy-out clause inserted to ward off his suitors.
Roberto Martinez has not been in alone in sending his spies over to Estadio Cornella-El Prat on more than one occasion, with The Daily Star reporting clubs in Italy and France to share the Toffees’ admiration for his gifts.
The assembled talent spotters will have been purring, with the European Championship-winning Spanish international forward contributing to 16 goals (ten strikes and six assists) in La Liga this term.
It’s a total that equates to half the league goals his employers have mustered in 2013/14.
Garcia’s is a solid rather than exceptional goal return, but he’s still on course for the finest top-flight campaign tally in his entire career, having never previously mustered more than 12 strikes during a journey that has also taken in Barcelona, Levante, Zaragoza and Real Betis.