NEW Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas has told Steven Pienaar he will not stand in the way of his dream return to Everton.
And Goodison officials have already opened talks with the White Hart Lane hierarchy which have been described as “constructive”.
Pienaar spent a frustrating 12-months at Tottenham after moving for £3m in January last year, but returned to Goodison on-loan a year later.
He scored inside five minutes of his second ‘home debut’ against Chelsea and enjoyed a sparkling spell when he belatedly came to regret his move south.
The South African midfielder made it clear he was keen to make his return to Goodison permanent, but Harry Redknapp’s sacking and Spurs’ subsequent search for a new boss complicated the issue.
New coach Villas Boas, however, has told Pienaar he is willing to let him leave and it is now up to the clubs to agree a fee and terms.
While Pienaar’s hopes of clinching an Everton return look bright, Joseph Yobo has spoken of his “sadness” at his failure to seal a Goodison exit.
Yobo has been on-loan at Fenerbahce for two years now, as Everton and the Turks have failed to agree a transfer fee – and the Nigerian is ready to return to pre-season training in Turkey with his long-term future no closer to being resolved.
“Preparations began for the new season,
but my condition is still not clear,” he said.
“The club’s (Fenerbahce’s) silence makes me sad. This situation can not continue like this.”
Because of his age (31), Fenerbahce are only willing to pay 2.5 million euros, while Everton believe that with two years remaining on his current contract he is worth around 3.5 million euros.
Fenerbahce coach Aykut Kocaman has confirmed that Yobo is in his plans for next season.
Newco Rangers chief executive Charles Green, meanwhile, faces a fresh blow in his battle to hold on to the the club’s wantaway players as his purchase of their contracts is not valid, according to an employment law expert.
The club’s administrators, Duff and Phelps, revealed earlier this week that Green’s £5.5million purchase of Rangers’ assets included a £2.75m payment to purchase the contracts and registrations of the players – including new Everton signing Steven Naismith.
But despite Green taking a firm stance, Adrian Hoggarth, the head of employment law at Prolegal believes the deal struck may have been outside of the law.
“It is not legally possible for Rangers and Charles Green to buy and sell players as part of a business transfer,” he said.
“Whether or not the players transferred in this case appears to depend on two things.
“Firstly, were they assigned to the business of the football club when it transferred? This is a matter of law and this has nothing to do with any money that may have changed hands.
“Secondly, were the players aware of the transfer at the time it took place? Case law suggests that if you know about a transfer before it happens and don’t object to it, you lose the right to object once the business transfers. If not, you don’t.
“To suggest otherwise would take away the right of an employee to object to being transferred, which is a right enshrined in law.”
Southampton boss Nigel Adkins also dismissed Green’s suggestions that the newco club’s players were not free to sign for new teams.
Adkins has signed former Gers skipper Steve Davis and is ‘certain’ of the validity of the contract.
He said: “I’ve seen reports about that but we’re 100 per cent certain that Steven Davis is a Southampton player.
“Everything is organised, everything is done and he will play at the weekend.
“He has got a little injury he is recovering from that he got last season at Rangers, but he is running around, kicking a football on the training round.
“We won’t risk him at the weekend, we’ll make sure he is right, but he is 100 per cent a Southampton player and if he is fit, he could play tomorrow.”