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Everton look to boost Champions League chase with Stoke striker

| 15.01.2014

Everton are chasing Stoke City striker Kenwyne Jones as they look to bolster their attacking options in the race for Champions League qualification.

Just one defeat in their last 13 Premier League outings has seen Roberto Martinez’s side climb to fifth in the table – one point outside the top four – but with striker Nikica Jelavic joining Hull City, the Toffees are short in the striking department.

Romelu Lukaku, who has hit nine goals in the league this season, has been first choice at Everton but their Spanish manager is desperate to bring in cover for the on-loan Chelsea striker, with Jones his primary target.

The Blues are said to have offered £1m for the Trinidad and Tobago international, who is out of contract at the end of the season.

But despite his contract situation the Merseyside club may have to go higher with their bid to seal a deal as Potters boss Mark Hughes is holding out for closer to £3m for the former Sunderland man.

The 29-year-old is keen on a switch to Goodison Park and has reportedly gone on strike in order to force a move to the Champions League-chasing club.

Jones failed to turn up for Sunday’s league match with Liverpool and Stoke have not taken kindly to the move, fining him two weeks’ wages.

Everton, who are confident of securing a deal for the Trinidadian, are 5/1 with Ladbrokes to finish the season in the top four but with just Lukaku leading the line they are running the gauntlet with their Champions League hopes.

With Jones, who has scored 68 goals during his time in English football, on board Martinez would have a like-for-like replacement for the Belgian hitman and a striker who understands the demands of the Premier League.

If he can hit the ground running at his potential new club then it will only serve to boost Everton’s top four credentials.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Oliver Yew