Everton are reportedly set to rival Arsenal for Besiktas midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup and are ready to pay £13m (£17.2m) for the 25-year-old, who spent five years in the Gunners' academy before leaving for the Turkish giants.
Ozyakup has been linked with a return to north London in recent months but a number of clubs may try and snaffle the Turkey international from under the nose of his former employers, with his contract set to expire next summer.
Everton are one of presumably many interested parties and are apparently prepared to pay £13m in January in order to negate a war with other perhaps more esteemed clubs. According to Turkish outlet Fotospor, the troubled Toffees' interest is the most intense at this stage, with Arsenal not willing to pay £13m for a player they could sign for nothing if they wait a little while longer.
Besiktas chairman Fikret Orman is all too aware of Ozyakup's situation and is keen for it to be resolved soon, but with no sign of an agreement forthcoming the Super Lig giants edge closer to resigning themselves to the fact that their star midfielder's future does not lie in Istanbul.
Everton already have a number of central midfield players on their roster, but with doubts over the futures of Muhamed Besic and James McCarthy as well as the worrying form of Morgan Schneiderlin, director of football Steve Walsh may need to find a new cog for the engine room in January, though striking and defensive reinforcements are likely to be prioritised.
Ozyakup has made 13 appearances for Besiktas so far this season and has operated primarily as a defensive midfielder, a position Arsenal are in serious need of strengthening. Arsene Wenger has deployed Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka as a midfield duo for much of this season but neither specialise in protecting the back four, while the likes of Frances Coquelin and Mohamed Elneny are do not possess the requisite ability needed to start regularly for the Gunners.
Everton and Arsenal are both preparing for their Europa League clashes against Atalanta and Koln respectively, while Ozyakup is set to start Besiktas' crucial Champions League clash against Porto on Tuesday [21 November]. Senol Gunes' side will secure their place in the last-16 with a win over second-placed Porto, who suffered a 3-1 defeat by the Turks in September.