Norwich City have agreed a deal in principle with Everton for the £8 million (€10.8 million) purchase of Steven Naismith having revived interest first expressed in the summer, though they face competition from a number of rival Premier League clubs to secure the Scotland international.
Naismith, scorer of an eye-catching hat-trick in the victory over Chelsea in September, has started only four Premier League games this season, and none at all since the loss to Manchester United at Goodison Park in mid-October.
The 29-year-old had been the subject of a £7 million bid from Norwich in the summer which was rejected, with Roberto Martínez suggesting then that the player was “too important to Everton” to be permitted to leave given there was no time to secure a replacement.
The manager’s stance has since shifted, with Martínez indicating earlier this month that he intended to address the situation in face-to-face talks with Naismith in January.
Norwich, who have made no secret of their desire to add to their forward ranks having also failed with a £9 million move for Crystal Palace's Dwight Gayle on deadline day in September, have now returned to the Merseyside club with a new offer that has been deemed acceptable, though it remains to be seen whether the striker's other suitors follow up their interest.
Sunderland, Swansea City, Aston Villa and Newcastle United have indicated an interest in the Scot as they search for goals to stave off the threat of relegation.
While Naismith, who came off the bench and played for 25 minutes in the 4-3 defeat by Stoke on Monday, is not agitating for a move, the need for regular first-team football at this stage of his career is clear.
kept busy over Christmas by paying for dinner for hundreds of homeless people in Glasgow, an event organised by the charity Loaves and Fishes.
Everton’s Irish midfielder James McCarthy, meanwhile, is being monitored after suffering a recurrence of the groin injury that had kept him sidelined for five games prior to his return to the starting line-up for the Stoke game. Guardian Service