Report: Everton make late attempt to hijack Celtic deal for Ahmad Benali

Everton have joined the race to sign Ahmad Benali.

The Mirror is reporting Everton have set their sights on a former Manchester City youth midfielder now playing in Italy.

The paper report: "Everton will make a late attempt to hijack a Celtic move for Ahmad Benali.

"Celtic have made an approach for the Manchester-born 22-year-old, but it is understood he would prefer a return to the Premier League, where he started his career with Man City."

Benali is a former England youth international but plays international football for Libya.

The midfielder plays for Italian Serie B side Brescia, and has become a highly coveted player.

The Mirror also report Brescia are in financial difficulty, which would ease the path to his exit.

Herald Scotland wrote this week that Celtic are monitoring the situation, which will become clearer after Brescia's meeting scheduled by the Italian FA on January 15.

Benali is a defensive midfielder who has made 20 appearances this season, scoring four times and providing three assists for the Serie B side.

He was part of Manchester City's academy as a teenager, even spending a short loan spell at Rochdale.

Everton and Celtic both have Europa League football to tempt Benali with, and he is eligible to play for either team. The Toffees face Villareal while Celtic go up against Inter Milan.

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