EVERTON believe they can hold onto John Heitinga despite Fenerbahce’s attempt to lure the defender to Istanbul.
The Turkish club have made a surprise £5.5m move for the Dutch international, as they are currently also in talks over a bid for Joseph Yobo, and hope the offer of a big pay-day and Champions League football next season could clinch Heitinga’s signature.
However David Moyes does not want to sell the 28-year-old, and is focusing on adding to his squad by making progress with his bid to sign Steven Pienaar on a permanent deal this week.
The Blues boss is not open to offers for any of his squad – Yobo aside – after agreeing to let Tim Cahill join New York Red Bulls for £1m on Monday.
Though the Turkish club’s move for Heitinga has muddied the waters, the ECHO understands they still want to sign Nigerian captain Yobo and negotiations for that deal rumble on.
Fenerbahce, who were runners-up to Galatasaray in the Turkish Super Lig league last term, also signed Liverpool frontman Dirk Kuyt, 32, in June.
But they are not the only club monitoring Heitinga’s situation, with interest in Everton’s 2011/12 player of the season also coming from clubs in Italy and Russia.
Heitinga is under contract at Goodison until summer 2014, and has been keen to reiterate publicly that he is not looking to leave Merseyside before the new season.
Moyes signed the former Ajax defender from Spanish side Atletico Madrid in a £6m switch in September 2009.
Meanwhile, the organisers behind Indonesia’s Java Cup have threatened to sue Galatasaray and Everton after the teams withdrew from the tournament.
The Toffees pulled out of the Jakarta-based competition on Tuesday after a host of problems, 24 hours after the Turkish champions and Uruguayan side Nacional decided not to participate.
“(The) consequences of the cancellation for Everton is (they) pay back all the damages,” Patrick Mbyaya, a lawyer representing the tournament, told a press conference in Jakarta.
“We will also contact the England Football Association to give disciplinary (sanctions) to Everton.”
The Blues are believed to have been backed in their withdrawal by the Barclays Premier League.
Instead of facing a Malaysian XI and another side over the next few days, Moyes is expected to deploy a number of first team players in reserve team fixtures against Hereford United on Saturday, and Tranmere Rovers in the Liverpool Senior Cup final at Prenton Park next Tuesday, in order to build on their pre-season fitness.