Hoffenheim play hardball with Everton over £20m Bundesliga hotshot

Roberto Martinez is a big fan of Hoffenheim’s Robert Firmino but Everton face an uphill task to sign the striker with the Germans rebuffing speculation.

If Everton are to be successful in their pursuit of Bundesliga striker Robert Firmino then they will most likely have to shell out big, with current club Hoffenheim playing hardball over a potential move.

The Toffees are believed to be keen admirers of the Brazilian, who scored 16 goals and provided a further 12 assists for the German side last season to put him on the radar of many top clubs across Europe.

Liverpool were also thought to be keen admirers of the 22-year-old forward, having been linked with a move to the former Figueirense star, though that interest may now have cooled with the club currently locked in negotiations with Barcelona over the sale of Luis Suarez.

That could leave the way clear for Everton to launch a bid for Firmino, though recent quotes suggest it would take a substantial bid for Hoffenheim to part ways with the highly-rated forward.

Speaking earlier this week, club chief Alexander Rosen moved to seemingly dismiss the speculation surrounding the Brazilian and teammate Kevin Volland.

"We are not in a weak position,” he told reporters, in quotes translated and republished by Tribal Football.

"Both want to stay and will play next season with us."

Those comments are unlikely to signal the end of the speculation though, with any significant offer from Everton or another club in the Premier League likely to prove too good to resist.

Hoffenheim have a track record for playing hardball when it comes to the sale of star players, as the sale of Luiz Gustavo to Bayern Munich previously demonstrates.

The Bundesliga club rebuffed interest from the Bavarians for several months before ultimately settling for a deal that saw the Brazilian leave for around £20 million.

And while the club remain steadfast in their approach to the interest surrounding Firmino at present, it is likely that the striker himself would favour a move to the lucrative Premier League.

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