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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 August 2007, 13:07 GMT 14:07 UK
Everton move for Boro star Yakubu
By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer

Yakubu
Yakubu is a top target for Everton manager Moyes
Everton have made an enquiry about Middlesbrough's 10m-rated striker Yakubu, BBC Sport understands.

Boss David Moyes wants to strengthen his attacking options after selling James Beattie to Sheffield United and losing James Vaughan to injury.

Moyes is now expected to follow up his interest with a firm bid, testing Middlesbrough's resolve to keep the 24-year-old Nigerian.

He may also make an 8m bid for Benfica midfielder Manuel Fernandes, 21.

Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate may prove a reluctant seller but could be tempted by money from the sale of Yakubu to revamp other areas of his squad.

Yakubu's Nigeria team-mate, defender Joseph Yobo, is already an established figure at Everton.

606: DEBATE
johnteflongotti

Moyes switched his attention back to Fernandes, who had a successful loan period at Everton last season, after failing with an 11m offer for Porto's Argentine captain Luis Gonzalez.

Fernandes has been heavily linked with Manchester City but Moyes is ready to hijack such a move.

Benfica, however, will put up a fight before selling Fernandes - even though they only own 50% of the player.

A Benfica spokesman said: "The player has a deal with us and it does not enter our plans to see him exit this summer."

Everton want to structure a deal that will ensure they fully own Fernandes, ensuring they do not run into the third-party ownership problems that dogged Manchester United's pursuit of Carlos Tevez.

Moyes has stepped up his transfer activity after completing a 6m move for Wigan's England Under-21 defender Leighton Baines.

Fernandes started last season on loan at Portsmouth but moved to Everton in January and the elegant player soon established himself as a fans' favourite.



SEE ALSO
Everton capture Baines from Wigan
07 Aug 07 |  Football
Everton offer 11m for Gonzalez
04 Aug 07 |  Everton
Sheff Utd land Beattie and Carney
04 Aug 07 |  Sheff Utd


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