EVERTON are close to agreeing the free transfer signing of in-demand Leeds United striker Jermaine Beckford.
Beckford has been offered a four-year deal by the Goodison outfit with David Moyes having been a long-time admirer of the 26-year-old.
Leeds have given permission for Everton to speak to the striker, who is out of contract at the end of next month.
Beckford shot to national prominence in January when his goal at Old Trafford knocked Manchester United out of the FA Cup.
Both Newcastle United and Aston Villa have also been tracking Beckford, who scored 30 goals last season to help Leeds win promotion from Coca-Cola League One.
Leeds have been resigned for some time to losing Beckford, and the striker is now on the verge of becoming Moyes’s second new arrival this summer after Slovakia goalkeeper Jan Mucha.
Everton are also hoping to finalise a deal for teenage Portuguese striker Joao Silva, while reports in France suggest they are also keen on Marseille forward Hatem Ben Arfa.
The player’s agent, Federic Guerra, has claimed Everton are keeping tabs on the 23-year-old, who helped Marseille win their first Ligue 1 title for 18 years this season.
“Everton have been very interested for a while now and it’s a possibility,” said Guerra.
Meanwhile, Republic of Ireland skipper Robbie Keane has revealed Everton defender Shane Duffy is already looking forward to returning to action.
The 18-year-old was fighting for his life less than a week ago after suffering an horrendous freak injury in a training game at Malahide.
Republic doctor Alan Byrne admitted at the weekend that the youngster was literally seconds away from death after rupturing his hepatic artery in a collision with Irish Amateur team keeper Adrian Walsh last Friday evening.