Everton are ready to allow Beni Baningime leave the club on a free transfer amid interest from Scottish side Hearts.
The DR Congo-born midfielder made 12 appearances in the 2017-18 season, playing as many as eight Premier League matches that campaign.
However, he has failed to play any games for the Toffees in the last three seasons, while he has not enjoyed the two loan spells away from the club due to injury issues.
The 22-year-old made one appearance for Wigan Athletic while on loan in the 2018/19 season, before playing 93 minutes for Derby County last term.
However, the Liverpool Echo now claim that Baningime is ‘close to leaving Everton on a permanent deal with a move to Hearts nearly complete’.
He will finalise a switch today as the midfielder completed his medical ahead a free transfer after ‘agreeing terms on what was left on his Goodison contract, which was due to expire next summer’.
The report adds that he almost joined Blackpool last summer but he is now ready to move to Edinburgh and sign a three-year deal at Hearts.
Meanwhile, Everton manager Rafael Benitez is looking forward to injury-plagued Jean-Philippe Gbamin providing proper competition in midfield this season.
The Ivory Coast international has played just three times for the Merseyside club – one of which was an 11th-minute substitute comeback appearance 20 months after his first two outings – since his arrival in August 2019 due to a serious thigh muscle strain and ruptured Achilles tendon.
However, he has featured in all four pre-season matches the club have played so far and Benitez is hoping the 25-year-old can bolster an area which has been an issue over the last couple of years for the Toffees.
“Obviously, he has had big injury problems in the past and now he is training well,” Benitez told evertonfc.com.
“I can see him challenging for a position and that is good news for us.
“He is doing well, and he is working hard like the rest of the midfielders. The competition will improve the levels of the players and the team.”