EVERTON are set to miss out on the signing of Miroslav Klose with the German striker likely to seal a switch to Lazio later this month.
The ECHO revealed last week that Blues boss David Moyes had hoped to persuade the out-of-contract Bayern Munich striker to move to Goodison Park this summer.
Klose’s contract with the Bundesliga outfit expires on June 30, and Bayern yesterday confirmed that he had rejected their offer of a new one-year rolling deal.
Spanish side Valencia are believed to have joined Everton in the race, but with the Germany star’s wages – believed to be in excess of £120,000 per week – proving a stumbling block, it is Lazio who have emerged as front-runners to secure the 33-year-old’s signature.
And the player himself has revealed that a move to the Rome giants is an attractive proposition.
“Let's say that I am evaluating some offers and Lazio are among them,” said Klose. “My wife and I have been to Rome on vacation and it is a fantastic city. The food is wonderful, too.
“I was close to Lazio in January, but Bayern wanted money that they weren't prepared to pay. Now I am in charge of my own destiny.
“I tracked their progress and they have a very solid squad including Mauro Zarate, Hernanes, Cristian Ledesma and Andre Dias. I also like the club colours,
as there is a lot of joy around the club and that means a lot to me.
“I need to talk to the Lazio directors, but can tell the fans that if I do come, then I won't let you down. I am very enthusiastic, I work very hard and never give in. My shirt is always wet through with sweat at the final whistle.”
Everton’s failure to land Klose would mean a return to the drawing board for Moyes, who is desperate to strengthen his side’s attacking options.
James Vaughan has already departed the club, joining newly-promoted Norwich City in a £2m deal, whilst Nigerian Yakubu, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Leicester City, is also expected to leave, with Turkish sides Bursaspor and Fenerbahce having expressed an interest in the 28-year-old.
It would leave Moyes with just Louis Saha, who has struggled with injuries throughout his Goodison career, Victor Anichebe and Jermaine Beckford as recognised senior forwards. None of that trio managed more than 10 goals last season.
A host of forwards have been linked with the Blues. West Ham’s Senegalese forward Demba Ba remains high on Moyes’ wishlist, and would be available on a free transfer following the Hammers’ relegation to the Championship.
Reading star Shane Long is another option, whilst tentative enquiries have also been made concerning Peterborough’s Craig Mackail-Smith, though the 28-year-old Scotland international is likely to join Norwich.
Meanwhile, Everton have announced they will play a pre-season friendly with Birmingham City.
The Blues will travel to St Andrews to face Alex McLeish’s recently-relegated outfit on Saturday July 30, kick-off 3pm.
An Everton XI will face Oxford United at the Kassam Stadium a day earlier, on Friday July 29, kick-off 7.45pm.