TIM Cahill’s eight-year Everton spell has come to an end after the Goodison hero agreed a £1million move to New York Red Bulls.
The Australian international had already been linked with moves to the Middle East and China during the summer, but a glamorous switch to one of Major League Soccer's top sides emerged as his favoured option and following talks a deal was quickly agreed between the clubs.
Cahill, 32, was still regarded as a valuable squad member by David Moyes despite only scoring three goals for the Toffees last season and not finding the net throughout 2011, during a period when he saw his previously guaranteed first-team place come under more scrutiny.
The Socceroo had to decide between staying on Merseyside, where he earns £55,000-a-week and potentially accepting less first team action in the wake of fellow forward Steven Naismith's arrival, or taking the option of a high-profile move to the USA where his signing will be seen as a major coup.
Red Bulls already boast the talents of Thierry Henry, but just as LA Galaxy recruited Robbie Keane to supplement David Beckham last season, coach Hans Backe has been keen to team-up Cahill with the mercurial Frenchman.
Cahill’s contract at Everton did not expire until 2014, and he has previously hinted that he would like to play on for another season in the Barclays Premier League.
However, the chance to become a star name in the USA proved too tempting to resist, while the Toffees have been be able to consolidate their finances by removing his £2.9m-a-year salary from their wage bill, while strengthening their ability to make further cut-price signings.
Another first team player linked with a move away yesterday was Dutch defender John Heitinga, although no clubs are yet to have contacted Everton to enquire about his availability.
Yet as one player departs, it is believed Steven Pienaar’s permanent return remains on course to be finalised this week, as will the protracted £2.5m of Joseph Yobo to Fenerbahce.