WHAT THE PAPERS SAY - JUNE 16
The views on this page are extracts from the local and national media and do not necessarily reflect the views of Everton.
Everton have played down reports that Manuel Fernandes is set to join the club on a permanent basis by the end of the week.
Reports yesterday suggested that the Portuguese midfielder would be allowed to join David Moyes’ side from Valencia at a cut-down £6m price if the Goodison Park outfit could seal a deal by June 20.
However, Goodison officials insist that Fernandes is currently just one of a number of potential targets on Moyes’ radar and his name has not been mentioned around the club for several weeks.
Manager Moyes declared on several occasions last season that he was disappointed with 22-year-old’s form as Fernandes struggled to make the same impact as he had done on a loan period at Goodison Park 12 months earlier.
The player himself admitted that he had not played to his full potential during his second spell on Merseyside, partly due to some niggling injuries, but a couple of encouraging displays towards the end of the campaign ensured that a more likely outcome for Fernandes would be a third loan move to Everton if Valencia consent rather than a permanent switch.
David Moyes is thought to be interested in the Deportivo La Coruña striker Riki, but the Everton manager may face competition from Bolton. Reports in Spain say the ex-Real Madrid player, 27, has told his agent to find him a club that will give him more first-team chances. Everton are also thought to be about to sign Manuel Fernandes from Valencia.
Defender Joseph Yobo, captaining Nigeria in a World Cup/African Nations Cup qualifier in Malabo, netted the only goal of the game just five minutes in against Equatorial Guinea.
It was the second time in a week that Yobo had struck a winner for the Super Eagles after his 89th-minute effort secured the points away at Sierra Leone seven days earlier.
The victory keeps Nigeria top of their group with three wins from as many matches and Yobo was joined in the side by Goodison team-mates Ayegbeni Yakubu, who played the entire 90 minutes, and teenager Victor Anichebe, who came on for the last half an hour.
In the same group there was less joy for Steven Pienaar on Saturday evening as he played in South Africa’s 1-0 defeat to Sierra Leone.
The competition doubles up for qualification to the 2010 African Nations Cup and World Cup finals tournaments and although South Africa have already booked their place in the latter competition as hosts, their participation in the continental finals in Angola is now in doubt.
Relaxed on the beach or midsummer madness?
Far from relaxed, but little progress has been made. Aaron Ramsey chose Arsenal and, with Lee Carsley having joined Birmingham City, midfield remains a priority. Michael Johnson, of Manchester City, Mariusz Lewandowski, the Poland and Shakhtar Donetsk player, Kevin Thomson, of Rangers, and Jimmy Bullard, of Fulham, are possibilities.
Chilled out or turning up the heat?
Only fine-tuning is necessary after last year’s solid display, but David Moyes is desperate to keep driving the club forward. Wholesale additions are unlikely, but the manager will be keen to add at least two top-class signings before the start of the season.
July 19: Cambridge United (a). July 22: Preston North End (a). July 25: Nottingham Forest (a). July 30: Chicago Fire (a). Aug 3: Colorado Rapids (a) Aug 9: PSV Eindhoven (h).