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THOMAS HITZLSPERGER is yet to agree a short-term deal to boost Everton's central midfield options but a decision is imminent on the former Germany international.
The 30-year-old is still training with the Blues at Finch Farm but contrary to rumours on Merseyside yesterday, he has not put pen to paper on a contract until January.
David Moyes is in no rush to decide on whether to recruit the player who has 52 Germany caps, especially with the news earlier this week that Darron Gibson is nearer to a first team return.
Nevertheless Hitzlsperger has impressed while on trial and completed 90 minutes as Alan Stubbs' U21s (formerly reserves) side beat Norwich City on October 8, and then impressed in a behind closed doors friendly win over Huddersfield on Tuesday.
However it is believed he may need to prove he can come through another fixture for the second string unscathed before any decisions are made on his future.
The former Aston Villa, West Ham and Wolfsburg player has now been with the Blues for the best part of a month and had become a popular figure at the training ground.
Moyes is also still undecided over whether to allow Ross Barkley to extend his loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday, and his decision on that could have consequences for Hitzlsperger.
If Barkley, 18, is given leave to continue on his learning curve at the Championship side for another month, Moyes could sanction a contract for the German who would add experience and a goal threat to his side.
Everton and Southampton are ready to swoop for Birmingham goalkeeper Jack Butland.
The England youngster could be sold by the npower Championship club during the January transfer window to help ease their financial plight.
Birmingham are actively seeking a new owner and are in talks with two parties.
Former QPR chairman Gianni Paladini is among those interested in buying the Midlands club but his £25milllion offer is way below the £40m wanted by the Birmingham hierarchy.
Butland, 19, has emerged as one of the brightest prospects in English football, and although Birmingham insisted earlier this year that they didn't want to sell one of their most-valued assets, their hand could be forced in January.
Manchester City are also monitoring the situation.