EVERTON have tabled an £18million bid for Saints midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

The former St Mary’s skipper has under a year remaining on his contract and has made it clear he wants to leave the club in search of a fresh challenge.

His preferred destination is Tottenham, however, it’s Everton who have made the first move.

Saints are yet to accept the bid, although they haven’t rejected it either.

Their stance throughout has been that anyone can sign him just as long as they stump up the cash to do so.

They placed a £35m valuation on the player who has also attracted interest from sides across Europe.

Tottenham want to involve Kyle Walker-Peters in any deal for Hojbjerg but the St Mary’s side would prefer to keep the two entities separate in order to avoid any confusion over player valuations.

It's understood that Spurs have so far fallen short of what Everton are offering and what Saints are looking for.

In the aftermath of Saints’ 1-1 draw with Brighton, manager Ralph Hasenhuttl was asked about Everton’s opening offer.

However, the Austrian didn’t want to comment on the situation.

During the coronavirus lockdown, Hojbjerg gave an interview to German media outlet SPORT1, where he made his intentions clear.

He said: "I know what I want, the club knows it too.

“I want to play at an even higher level than I am currently. The relationship between me and Southampton is fantastic.

“The club gave me the platform to grow. I'm not saying 'Goodbye' and I'm focused on my club, but my goal is very clear: I want to win the Premier League and the Champions League."

Hojbjerg joined Saints from Bayern Munich back in 2016 and has gone on to become one of the club’s most important players.

Hasenhuttl handed him the captaincy shortly after taking charge at St Mary’s in December 2018 but recently stripped him of it due to his refusal to sign a new deal.

He worked under Pep Guardiola at Bayern but was unable to become a regular starter for the European giants.

This eventually led to him joining Saints after having loan spells at FC Augsburg and Schalke 04.