STEVEN PIENAAR has edged closer to a permanent Everton return – after the Blues made progress in negotiations with Fenerbahce over the sale of Joseph Yobo.
The South African play-maker has agreed terms and is ready and waiting to move back to Merseyside and sign on the dotted line, but Everton must first release the funds to pay Spurs by finally pushing through the protracted exit of their Nigerian defender.
Talks with Fenerbahce have been notoriously difficult, resulting in Yobo only joining on successive season long loans over the last two seasons, but headway has been made which should see the Toffees bank around £2.5m for the 31-year-old Super Eagles captain.
That in turn should be enough to put together a package which should fulfil David Moyes’ – who saw his side win 1-0 at Dundee last night thanks to a Ross Barkley goal – stated transfer priority of the summer and complete the re-signing of a player he sold to Spurs for £3m in January 2011.
Despite technically still being an Everton player, Yobo has been excused from reporting for pre-season training with the club and is set to join-up with his team-mates in Istanbul instead.
However, Goodison officials will not be 100% confident until the saga is officially concluded, with the fluctuating nature of talks over the last two years meaning late hitches are always a threat.
Meanwhile, James McFadden is set to be quickly reunited with his former Everton team-mates on Saturday – even if he will line up against the club he played for last season.
The Scotland international is still interested in signing for Celtic despite a proposed move to Parkhead falling through last year.
McFadden, who was freed by David Moyes at the end of last season, has been training with former club Motherwell and will play in Stevie Hammell’s testimonial match against the Goodison Park side at Fir Park on Saturday.
The 29-year-old forward was thought to be on his way to Celtic last October but instead opted to rejoin Everton, and now he is keen to make a move to Glasgow happen.
McFadden said: “It is something that would appeal to me but whether it is a possibility, I don’t know, you would need to ask somebody at Celtic.
“I don’t want to go into it (previous link with Celtic). There was a wee bit of a mix-up.
“But if anybody comes to speak to me, I will speak to them, I wouldn’t rule anything out.