Everton agree £11.25m fee for striker Yakubu

August 22, 2007

Middlesbrough striker Ayegbeni Yakubu was tonight heading for Everton to tie up an £11.25million move.

The 24-year-old Nigerian set off for Merseyside after the two clubs agreed the fee this afternoon as the long-running sage took a decisive twist.

The Teessiders confirmed they had agreed an undisclosed fee with the Toffees and given them permission to speak to the Nigeria international, who was left out of the squad for Saturday's 2-1 Premier League win at Fulham.

A Boro spokesman said: 'We can confirm we have agreed a fee for the sale of Yakubu and he has been given permission to talk to Everton.

'We will only confirm the fee once any deal is complete.'

However, Everton later revealed the magnitude of their offer - a club record - in a statement on their website, evertonfc.com.

It said: 'Everton can confirm that they have agreed a club record transfer fee of £11.25 million with Middlesbrough for the transfer of Yakubu.

'The Nigerian international centre-forward is now travelling to Merseyside for talks with The Toffees.'

Ironically, the development came on the day Yakubu returned to training after going AWOL for two days following his no-show for Nigeria.

The former Maccabi Haifa and Portsmouth frontman joined his Boro team-mates for their session this morning as the deal was thrashed out.

He will now need to complete the formalities of a switch to Goodison Park, although no hitches are expected after a protracted pursuit by the Merseysiders.

Yakubu has been linked with a move away from the Riverside Stadium for much of the summer with Portsmouth and Manchester City touted as possible destinations.

However, it was Everton who emerged as favourites in recent days and they who have pushed home their interest amid speculation that Pompey boss Harry Redknapp could have been ready to offer new signing David Nugent in part-exchange for a player who has scored 35 goals on Teesside in the two seasons since he left Fratton Park.

The deal would represent a significant profit for Boro, who paid the south coast club £7.5million for the striker in July 2005.

However, it would also see the last of the club's most prolific goalscorers in recent seasons head through the exit door.

Yakubu, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Mark Viduka fought for a place in the starting line-up during Steve McClaren's last season in charge.

However, McClaren's successor, Gareth Southgate, allowed the Dutchman to leave at the end of his contract last summer and was unable to persuade Viduka to sign a new deal 12 months later as the Australian chose instead to join Sunday's opponents Newcastle on a free transfer.

Southgate has insisted all summer that he did not want the African to follow them, although his recent form may mean some fans will be less disappointed with his departure.

Yakubu scored 19 goals in his first season on Teesside, but only one of them after February, robbing him of the chance to become the first Boro player to reach 20 in a season since Fabrizio Ravanelli in 1996-97.

He managed 16 last season, all of them during the first seven months of the season.

However, the fact remains that in he and Viduka, Southgate has lost 35 goals from last season and that will pile the pressure on new arrivals Mido, Jeremie Aliadiere and Tuncay Sanli, as well as South Korea international Dong-Gook Lee, to find the back of the net.

Despite his insistence that Yakubu was not for sale, Southgate has spent the summer looking at potential replacements should the right offer come along, and armed with his fee, he could return to the market during the remaining nine days of the transfer window.

Boro's interest in Heerenveen's Afonso Alves has been played down, although the manager has cast his net far and wide and it would be little surprise if he now acts upon the information he has gleaned in recent months.