Everton medical for Lucas Neill

Lucas Neill was having a medical at Everton this morning with a view to moving to the Goodison Park club on a free transfer.

Neill, 31, was at the club's Finch Farm training complex and is expected to sign for the rest of this season and three more, having turned down offers from West Ham and Sunderland.

The Australia international is currently out of contract, with his lucrative deal at West Ham expiring in the summer.

West Ham had offered Neill a one-year extension with significantly reduced wages.

The Australian turned down Liverpool to join West Ham from Blackburn in January 2007, reportedly for more than £70,000 a week.

West Ham offered around half of that to try to keep Neill, and boss Gianfranco Zola was keen for the experienced defender to stay.

But Neill has also held talks with Atletico Madrid and interested Galatasaray as well as Sunderland boss Steve Bruce, without confirming his future.

Now Everton have stepped in, hoping to land Neill to solve their defensive injury problems.

Because Neill is out of contract, he can move outside the transfer window.

Everton captain Phil Neville is out with knee ligament damage, sustained at Fulham on Sunday. A specialist yesterday ruled out the need for an operation, but the 32 year-old will be out for three months.

Everton also have Phil Jagielka out until November, and have sold Joleon Lescott to Manchester City.

That has left boss David Moyes short of options, with new signing John Heitinga ineligible until January to play in Europe.

Neill will also not be able to play in the Europa League, but can fit into various defensive positions.

He is expected to watch Everton's Europa League opener tonight at home to AEK Athens.

Moyes revealed yesterday his concerns about the strength in depth of his squad.

"We lost five players in the summer and now we have lost Phil (Neville), that's six. And we have only brought three in," Moyes said. "That does make things difficult for us, I just hope we are able to cope with it.

"Last season we did not have Europe to contend with after going out early, but if we had I don't think we would have coped with the size of the squad we had then.

"But we have even less now, so that is a serious problem for me to contend with. The squad is smaller now than last season.

"It is testing for all of us, but not every manager is going to get all the money he wants to buy the best players in the world with riches and the top players.

"Part of this job is working with what you have and making the best of it. We have done that well over the years."

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