Everton ready to sign ex-West Ham and Blackburn defender Neill on a free
17 September 2009 11:13
Everton will sign Australia defender Lucas Neill on a free transfer today and pay him half the wages he got at West Ham.
The 31-year-old is a free agent after failing to agree an extension of his £80,000-a-week Upton Park deal in the summer and is having a medical with the Toffees.
He has seen proposed moves to Sunderland and Athletico Madrid collapse because of personal terms.
Neill caused a storm in 2007 when he rejected Liverpool to sign for West Ham, insisting it was for footballing reasons and not the huge wages offered to him.
Everton hope his close friendship with fellow Aussie and former Millwall team-mate Tim Cahill will help seal the deal and expect to snap him up in time to face former club Blackburn on Sunday.
Neill is the second-youngest player at 18 years and seven months to play for Australia - behind Harry Kewell - and has represented the Socceroos 50 times. He has captained them three times.
Toffees' boss David Moyes, is desperate for defensive reinforcements as new £6.3m signing John Heitinga will be required in central midfield following the loss of skipper Phil Neville to a serious knee injury suffered at Fulham last weekend- he will be out for up to three months.