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Everton boss David Moyes has boosted his summer transfer kitty by selling Joseph Yobo to Fenerbahce for £2.5million.
Nigeria defender Yobo ended a 10-year association with the Goodison Park club by agreeing terms for the switch - which takes his £2m-a-year salary off the Toffees' payroll.
Yobo has spent the last two seasons on loan at the Istanbul club.
He follows another of Everton's big earners, Tim Cahill, who has signed for New York Red Bulls, out of the door.
Moyes needed to generate funds to land new faces - and these two deals also mean he is more able to stand firm when offers come in for his other stars, such as Manchester United target left-back Leighton Baines.
Letting Yobo and Cahill leave has vastly reduced Everton’s weekly outgoings, as the pair were being paid around £100,000-a-week between them.
PHIL JAGIELKA insists Everton FC have learned from their past mistakes in the summer transfer window and will benefit from a stable start to the new season.
The England defender said he is relieved that manager David Moyes has been able to do his business with time to spare before the 2012/13 campaign begins, and the squad will benefit from the lack of uncertainty which has troubled them in previous pre-seasons.
Everton have suffered previously by losing key players late in the summer, with the departure of Joleon Lescott in 2009 and Mikel Arteta last summer sapping morale before the Premier League action began.
But Jagielka, 29, who has recently returned to train-ing after an extend-ed break follow-ing his involvement in Euro 2012, senses a difference this time around - especially after the captures of Steven Naismith and Steven Pienaar.
He said: “We always seem to have an air of confidence, especially after the finish we had. But it was important whether we were going to do business, be it ins or outs, that it’s done as soon as possible.
“We’ve seen with Tim (Cahill) going that it was nice for him it was done quick enough. Nasiy (Steven Naismith) has come in and he looks like he’s going to be a decent player for us. Hopefully we can get a couple of more in and start the season with a squad rather than having it clouding over us, and wondering ‘are we going to get him or lose him’.
“The club seem to have made a purposeful intent with the transfer market to get what we can in, obviously we haven’t got a lot of money but get what we can in and get everyone familiar with each other.”
The Toffees are continuing with preparations for their August 20 opener against Manchester United at Goodison, and drew 1-1 with Bulgarian champions Ludogorets in a behind-closed-doors friendly at Goodison yesterday.
And Jagielka believes the pressure will be firmly on Alex Ferguson’s side when they travel to Merseyside for the first Monday night game of the season.
“We’ve been handed a tough game first game of season but what’s an easy one?,” he said.
“We’ve not started as well in the past whether it’s Stoke home or away, or Wigan, or Newcastle.
“They won’t be looking forward to coming here because they know they’ll need to start the season well with the way their season finished and how competitive it will be for them to win the league. It’s going to be an interesting game.
“I am looking forward to the first game.
“When I drove into training for the first time I got goosebumps at coming to see the lads, shaking their hands and having a bit of a laugh and a joke.
“I’ve never been this late back into pre-season and me and Bainesy have been training with the reserves.
“We have come back in decent condition but it has been good.
“I can’t wait for the first game and kick on from there.”
Meanwhile, Everton have confirmed they are in advanced discussions with Fenerbahce regarding the protracted transfer of Joseph Yobo.
The Nigerian defender has been on loan at the Turkish outfit for the past two seasons and the two clubs are finally close to agreeing a permanent switch.
STEVEN Pienaar is the silent leader of Everton FC’s squad - according to its more vocal skipper Phil Neville.
The South African completed his permanent Goodison return this week in a £4.5m switch from Spurs, and Neville said the news has lifted the Blues squad.
During his 14-game spell with the Toffees last term Pienaar notched four goals, including high profile efforts against Chelsea and Manchester United.
And the playmaker noticeably helped Everton’s style of play become easier on the eye, something Neville believes was just one of the positives.
He said: “We all rely so much on him and I think he thrives on that sort of pressure and responsibility.
“I love him as a player. You can give him the ball in any position and he takes the ball and makes others around him play.
“Without being a great talker or being demanding of people, his body language and the way he leads by example on the pitch is fantastic.
“The way he played last year, he came back and seemed even better than he was in his first spell at the club. He lights up the place, there’s no question about that. The players trust him, the manager trusts him and he makes us a better team.”
Meanwhile, Everton has changed its ticket allocation system for the 2012/13 season.
Following extensive feedback from supporters, the club has replaced the loyalty points system for the forthcoming campaign with tickets now allocated based on purchase history on the current and, if required, the previous season.
Introduced in 2009/10 in a bid to ensure a demonstrably fair and structured process for purchasing sought-after tickets, the loyalty points system allocated points based on purchases within a single season.
The philosophy behind the system was that tickets would be allocated based on points as opposed to games.
The number of points awarded varied, depending upon the product purchased, with Season Ticket holders earning the most number of points.
However, over the course of the last season, it became apparent that there were alternative means of allocating tickets successfully and the loyalty points system became redundant.
For the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley in April, tickets were allocated based on match ticket purchase history and this was widely accepted by supporters as a much better, fairer and appropriate process.
Similarly, tickets for away fixtures where there were restricted numbers of seats available for Evertonians were allocated using purchase history without any issues.
Supporters should be aware there is no monetary value in any loyalty points accrued and they are not redeemable against any other club products or services.
Tickets for the Manchester United fixture are on sale and the match ticket purchase history system is now in use by the Fan Centre.