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Wednesday, 7 November, 2001, 13:43 GMT
Smith confirms Blomqvist deal
Jesper Blomqvist goes close for Manchester United in the 1999 Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich
Blomqvist has been out of action for over two years
Exclusive by BBC Sport Online chief football writer Phil McNulty

Everton have agreed a deal to sign Manchester United's forgotten winger Jesper Blomqvist.

And Toffees boss Walter Smith has revealed his surprise move for the Swedish midfielder came on the recommendation of Manchester United counterpart Sir Alex Ferguson.

Blomqvist - out of contract at Old Trafford following two years of injury problems - will sign a deal at Goodison Park until the end of the season.

It is initially a deal to the end of the season, but if everything goes all right for both parties, we can certainly discuss things further
Everton manager
Walter Smith

Smith told BBC Sport Online: "Alex phoned me to tell me the lad was now fit and available.

"He rated him highly, but obviously had to bring cover in to fill his position when he was out injured for such a while.

"But he still feels he has plenty of ability, and he is also a player I liked myself when I saw him in the past."

Blomqvist joined United in a 4.5m deal from Parma in July 1998 but only managed one goal in 38 appearances.

And a serious knee injury has kept him out of the first-team picture since United's 1999 Champions League Final win against Bayern Munich in Barcelona.

'Undoubted ability'

Smith hopes the deal will revive the talented Swede's career as well as giving Everton's small squad a boost in numbers.

And he hinted he would consider extending the initial deal beyond the end of the season if Blomqvist is a success.

Smith added: "The deal is a chance for him to revive his career at Everton, and is an opportunity for us to add a player to our squad because his track record and the clubs he has played for shows he has undoubted ability."

Everton boss Walter Smith
Smith is keen to boost his small squad

"He was a player I had seen quite a bit of when he was with Gothenburg and I rated him highly.

"We have a fairly small group of players at Everton, so this deal is a chance for both him and us to benefit.

"He has played four reserve team matches for United this season, and needs a couple more by all accounts.

"We have got quite a number of games coming up in December, so we are pleased to have greater numbers in the squad and we will see how he goes.

"It is initially a deal to the end of the season, but if everything goes all right for both parties then we can certainly discuss things further."

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