EVERTON have come back with a second offer for Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, the Daily Echo can reveal.

The Toffees last week tabled a bid of around £18million for the former Saints skipper whose contract has entered its final year.

However, the Goodison Park side have increased that offer to £20m in attempt to beat Tottenham to the Danish international’s signature.

Saints are understood to want more for a player who is only 24 and has ambitions to play in the Champions League.

Spurs, Hojbjerg’s preferred destination, are still some way off matching what Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton have tabled.

Daniel Levy, the current Tottenham chairman, is known to be a tough negotiator and has previous of letting transfers go to the wire.

But Saints have made it clear that they won’t allow Hojbjerg to leave cheaply, effectively telling Spurs to put their money where their mouth is.

Jose Mourinho is keen to bolster his midfield ahead of next season and would be willing to let Kyle Walker-Peters remain at St Mary’s as part of the deal.

However, the Daily Echo understands Saints want to keep the two entities separate so that player valuations don’t become confused.

Hojbjerg has also attracted interest from across Europe and was initially valued at £35m by the St Mary's hierarchy.