Espanyol have turned down an offer from Fulham for David Lopez, according to reports in Spain this evening.
Fulham tabled their bid earlier this week, but it is believed to fall significantly short of Espanyol’s valuation of their versatile defender. Lopez, who can also play as a holding midfielder, has been heavily linked with a move to Everton over the past week and has a release clause of around £35m. It is believed that Espanyol would be willing to accept offers in excess of £30m but the Spanish press reports suggest that Fulham’s initial offer was much less than that figure.
Espanyol are not averse to selling one of their key players as they strive to cut their wage bill ahead of the new campaign. There are several suitors for Lopez’s signature should he decide to leave the club with Valencia and Real Betis bidding to offer him an alternative destination within Spain and several English clubs believed to be monitoring his availability.
Lopez was a regular fixture in Espanyol’s side last year, playing more than 3,000 La Liga minutes, as the Periquitos finished the season in eleventh place. At 28, he would bring a wealth of experience to the Fulham back line and would fit Slavisa Jokanovic’s mould of a ball-playing centre back. Jokanovic is known to be keen to recruit further centre halves to the club before the August 9th transfer deadline, despite having signed Maxime Le Marchand from Nice last week.
Lopez, who came through the youth ranks at Espanyol, has had two spells with the Spanish club as well as spending two years in Serie A with Napoli. He helped the Italian club win the Coppa Italia in 2014 and was capped by Catalonia during a rare international in 2013. He still has two years to run on his current deal with Espanyol and it remains to be seen whether Fulham will return with an improved offer for the centre haf.