CHERRIES are still hoping to clinch the signing of Levante's Jefferson Lerma ahead of the closing of the transfer window – despite reports suggesting the deal was off.

The Daily Echo understands talks between the two clubs are ongoing with Cherries today having tabled a fresh bid of around €25million, a fee which would rise to €30m with add-ons.

It is believed to have been the fourth offer made by Cherries and, if accepted, would shatter the Dorset club's record after they paid £20m to Chelsea for Nathan Ake 12 months ago.

Reports surfaced yesterday that Levante had ruled out the possibility of parting with Lerma and claimed the Colombian international would "not be sold this summer having returned to training this week".

Lerma, a long-time target for boss Eddie Howe, was the subject of a failed bid from Cherries last week after Valencia-based Levante rejected their offer, believed to have been €22.2m.

And having seen a previous bid of around €19m also dismissed, Lerma, who helped Colombia reach the last 16 of the World Cup, apparently handed in a transfer request.

Lerma is said to have his heart set on a move to the Premier League and it was claimed the 23-year-old had gone AWOL after Cherries' third bid had been rejected.

However, it appears he was given extended leave by Levante following his exploits in Russia and was only obliged to return at the start of this week.

A picture of Lerma preparing to leave Colombia to fly back to Spain was posted on the player's Instagram account on Monday.

Lerma has a release clause of around €60m, although these are commonplace in Spanish contracts and are often not met when players leave.

The player joined up with his Levante team-mates at a training camp in Ermelo in Holland earlier this week.

Primarily a holding midfielder, Lerma has also been deployed at right-back and impressed for Levante last season, making 28 appearances in La Liga.

He penned a four-year deal with the Spanish top-flight outfit when he signed permanently – following a successful 12-month loan – from Atlético Huila for a fee of around €600,000 in July 2016.

Based near his home in El Cerrito, Lerma's former club are understood to be entitled to a sizeable sell-on should he be sold.

He extended his contract at the Ciutat de Valencia at the end of last season and played all four games for Colombia at the World Cup where they eventually went out on penalties to England following a feisty contest during which he was substituted in the second half.

The summer transfer window is this year due to close on August 9, two days before Cherries kick off their Premier League campaign against Cardiff City at Vitality Stadium.

Cherries have so far made two additions to their squad, bringing in David Brooks from Sheffield United for £10m and Diego Rico from Leganés for £10.7m.

Strikers Lewis Grabban and Benik Afobe, winger Max Gradel and goalkeeper Adam Federici have all been sold by the club this summer.