Everton set to sign Gravesen for £2.5m

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The Independent Football

Having Begun his reign at Everton with a budget a few farthings short of nothing Walter Smith will confirm Everton's return to among the Premiership's big spenders when he brings his summer transfer spending to the £15m mark with the signing of Hamburg's Danish international Thomas Gravesen today.

Having Begun his reign at Everton with a budget a few farthings short of nothing Walter Smith will confirm Everton's return to among the Premiership's big spenders when he brings his summer transfer spending to the £15m mark with the signing of Hamburg's Danish international Thomas Gravesen today.

Gravesen - nominally a defender but with the ability to play in midfield - will travel to Merseyside for a medical after a £2.5m fee was agreed with the Bundesliga club. The 24-year-old impressed during Euro 2000 and can add more options to Smith's squad in a busy closeseason of comings and goings.

Gravesen will be Smith's sixth summer acquisition and the third this week. Paul Gascoigne signed from Middlesbrough and immediately flew out to join the club's training camp in Tuscany, while the arrival of the Ghanaian Alex Nyarko was confirmed yesterday after he was granted a work permit in one of the quickest decisions on record.

Normally such applications can take as long as a month to be processed by the Department of Employment and Education. However, Nyarko will now be free to return to Goodison Park with the rest of his new team-mates and should make his debut in one of Everton's two friendlies next week.

The club took a giant stride towards abandoning their Goodison Park home yesterday. The Merseyside club have been told they can only build a 55,000-plus all-seaterstadium by leaving their base of the past 108 years.

A new report into the future of the stadium and the prospects of moving to a new site has been made public, confirming that a new ground is the best option. It has been revealed that redeveloping Goodison Park will cost at least £50m, could take several years to acquire land and houses and to move a local school and would then be unlikely to be much larger than a 45,000-capacity ground, well below Everton's needs to compete at the top level.

Bill Kenwright, the owner and vice-chairman who has always supported the idea to stay and rebuild Goodison Park, reluctantly accepts that moving is likely to be the best option. "All the current indications suggest that we must identify a new site that will work positively for the club and our fans," he said. "This is the only way we will achieve our aims."

Possible new sites are the Kings Dock on the Mersey waterfront or an area on the East Lancs Road at Gillmoss on the edge of the city. Everton declined an offer recently to share Liverpool's proposed 70,000 new stadium on a car park adjacent to Stanley Park, just yards from Anfield. Everton will not contemplate a merger with their rivals across Stanley Park, Liverpool.

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