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Everton boss David Moyes is ready to let striker James Vaughan go - with Sheffield United and Burnley keen to take the hit man on loan.
Vaughan missed out on a move in the window but is available as Moyes wants to get him out of Goodison and playing first-team football ahead of a sale.
The Toffees are looking for a club to pick up Vaughan's £15,000-a-week wages and both the Blades and Clarets are doing their sums before making an official approach.
Vaughan hoped to go to Blackpool for the season but the Seasiders went for cheaper options, leaving him facing life in the reserves unless he can get a Championship move.
SYLVAIN DISTIN believes Everton can handle the pressure of raised expectations this season despite struggling to find their rhythm in the Premier League so far.
The 32-year-old defender admitted he has mixed feelings about the Toffees’ start to the campaign, with goals hard to come by and domination against Aston Villa last weekend going unrewarded.
But the veteran insisted that victory is close for Moyes’ men, and nobody is panicking at Goodison yet.
He said: “It’s a mixed feeling for us. It’s frustrating because the results are not really what we expect. Altogether though I think we’ve played quite well.
“We haven’t scored enough and conceded a goal each game but it’s strange because everyone feels like we are doing OK.
“We are missing one or two little things to get the end result but playing decently.
“Sometimes it needs just a lucky goal.
“Last weekend they scored but then Steven (Pienaar) could have levelled with a great strike and it hit the bar. That’s football.
“It seems like we have had to ‘pay cash’ for the mistakes in our games.
“We know that day when we win is going to be very soon and we all want it badly.
“We feel comfor-table it is close.
“We don’t enjoy it so far, that is for sure but there is no need for any pressure.
“I am annoyed because the defence have conceded a goal a game, but I’m getting older and trying to relax about it a bit more.”
THERE was a time that the Super Eagle goal celebration synonymous with African footballers was a regular sight at Goodison Park – usually after Ayegbini Yakubu had made the net bulge.
The Nigerian’s double against Newcastle United in a 3–1 win at Goodison on the last day of the 2007–08 season helped clinch fifth place and European football.
The Yak looked set to write his name into the rich tapestry of Everton goalscoring folklore, finishing his first season with 15 Premier League, and 21 strikes in all competitions.
It was his highest goal tally for a single season, and the £11.25m signing from Middlesbrough had just became the first Everton player since Peter Beardsley to net 20 goals in a season.
Consider the contrast. On Tuesday, the striker was on the brink of an inglorious exit from Goodison with those glory days receding fast in the memories of supporters.
With David Moyes’ team suffering from an early dry patch in front of goal, Yakubu is unfit to offer any solution – still not back in shape despite his World Cup duties ending more than eight weeks ago.
By comparison John Heitinga, who played in the final, returned against Wolves.
It has left frustration seething in some quarters, and no doubt led Everton to listen to offers for the 27-year-old, with a swoop for Wolfsburg star Grafite said to have been considered.
But with the window closed and reinforcements a long way, or four months off at least – can The Yak turn it around?
Legendary former Everton centre forward Graeme Sharp maintains it’s not too late for Yakubu to resurrect his once promising career.
“It’s plain to see from the start of the season, and how results have stuttered along, that Everton are lacking a cutting edge in the final third,” he says.
“Then you’ve got a natural goal scorer like The Yak who hasn’t played yet. He is a fantastic asset to have and you can’t afford to write him off yet.
“I would have been disappointed to see him leave Everton this summer. I can genuinely still see a place for him in this side and I can still see him having an impact on this season.
“He’s the type of player who can score scrappy goals. It’ll got his backside and go in. He just knows where the right place is to score. With Louis Saha liking to drop deep and join up play, there’s room for someone who can be a real predator in the box.”
Despite his admiration for the former Portsmouth hit-man Sharp acknowledges he has to work harder to get match-fit, and should have been able to feature by now.
“It’s disappointing that he’s still not fully fit,” he says. “But you’ve got to think about how Everton would have gone about finding a replacement. It takes a lot of money to get a goal scorer in these days. Everyone wants one.
“When you’ve got one on your books maybe it’s better to sit tight and show some faith in him. Hopefully the boy has still got the hunger to get in great shape and get back in action."