Everton Club Focus – Futures of Yobo, Yakubu and Anichebe pivotal to Moyes’ summer plans

The future of Everton’s three Nigerian internationals has dominated the week at Goodison Park, with Joseph Yobo and Yakubu both still primed for the exit and another Nigerian star, Toffees cult hero Daniel Amokachi, backing Victor Anichebe to fulfil his promise in the coming season.

Both Yobo and Yakubu have held talks with moves to Turkish champions Fenerbache, the former after spending last season on loan in Istanbul with the latter also attracting interest from Championship side Leicester City. Yakubu spent six months at the Walkers Stadium, scoring 11 goals in 20 games, but a permanent move has reportedly stalled over the striker’s wage demands. After a sluggish series of Premier League appearances for Everton last season Yakubu appeared revitalised by the drop in division, displaying a verve not seen since before a serious injury ruled the forward out for the best part of a year in November 2009. A departure from Goodison looks certain before the end of the transfer window with just the destination to be decided.

Yobo, meanwhile, was subject of a £2m bid by Fener, some way short of the £5m David Moyes has valued the centre-back at. Having been Moyes’ first signing as Everton manager, joining on loan in 2002 and permanently a year later, Yobo played every minute of the 2006-07 season but in recent years found himself pushed out of the first team by Phil Jagielka, Sylvain Distin and John Heitinga. Having made clear his desperation to switch to Turkey full-time, Yobo’s long Everton career appears to have drawn to an end. However, Everton are likely to hold out for as much money as possible, given the Nigeria captain still has time on his contract and a fourth centre-back of Yobo’s ability would be useful given the small squad at Moyes’ disposal. The sales of Yobo and Yakubu could realistically generate £6-7m for the manager to put to use before the end of August.

The third of Everton’s Nigerian trio, Anichebe, is not on the verge of moving on, rather fighting to establish himself in the manager’s first XI. The story of Anichebe’s Everton tenure has largely been one of frustration, for both the player and supporters. Bursting on to the scene as a powerful teenager, now Anichebe is 23, the technical side of his game has yet to develop to match the physicality. After an impressive performance for Nigeria during a victory Argentina last month, Amokachi, scorer of two goals in the 1995 FA Cup semi-final victory over Tottenham Hotspur, tagged Anichebe as someone who can become an important player both domestically and internationally. Without a goal last season, Anichebe has also played as a right winger, a position that appeared to use his pace and power to its best, but a lack of consistency and a series of injuries have dogged his development.

As Moyes continues to toil in the transfer market, searching for new faces that fit within his tight budget, saying goodbye to Yakubu and Yobo and seeing the best of the raw Anichebe would make the struggle much easier on a number of fronts.

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