Everton’s summer pursuit of new striker could be set for another setback amid reports linking World Cup target Enner Valencia with a move to the capital
According to reports from Sky Sports, West Ham United have emerged as the surprise front-runners to sign the 24-year-old, who impressed for Ecuador at the World Cup with three goals in his three games for the national side.
Currently valued at £12m by parent club Pachuca, Valencia went into the summer tournament off the back of a terrific season in Mexico, where he managed 18 goals in just 23 appearances.
That form had seen Roberto Martinez take a keen interest in the forward, with the Spaniard keen to add a forward to his Toffees’ squad following the January departure of Nikica Jelavic and the conclusion of Romelu Lukaku’s season-long loan.
However the Blues boss may be forced to look elsewhere for new goalscoring additions after it was revealed that the Hammers had stolen a march in the pursuit of the forward.
And even if Valencia opts against a move to Upton Park, it’s widely believed that Tottenham have also entered the race to recruit the Ecuadorian ahead of a season in which the Lilywhites will be aiming to compete for a top four finish.
Everton’s best hope of landing the forward could now rest on whether the club sanctions a more significant transfer bid for the forward, who nevertheless represents something of a gamble, having never competed in Europe.
But with the likes of Spurs and West Ham emerging as contenders, it would appear that the forward favours a move to the capital, meaning only an offer too good to refuse from Everton would be enough to tempt him into a move.
They could have some help from Manchester United midfielder and namesake Antonio Valencia though, with any move to Everton making it easier for the forward to regularly link-up with his compatriot.
In the meantime Everton may be forced to go back to the drawing board as they continue their search for a new forward.