Everton's defence boosted by Ferrari loan

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The Independent Football

The Everton manager strengthened his improving squad with Ferrari yesterday and hopes to add another Serie A player in Van der Meyde before the transfer deadline.

Algerian-born Ferrari, 25, moved to Merseyside on a one-year loan deal with a view to a permanent £3.7m transfer next summer, his talents sorely needed in the Goodison defence after they discovered that Alessandro Pistone, who only rejoined the club on a two-year contract last month, is out for the rest of the season with a cruciate injury. The Roma defender Ferrari will be in the squad at Fulham this afternoon providing his registration is received in time

Moyes, who intends to find a replacement for the Italian before Wednesday, revealed: "With Per (Kroldrup) out for six weeks with a hernia and Alessandro out for the season I couldn't afford to risk not having any cover. Matteo is a centre-half, but at a push he can also play in both full-back positions. Only a year ago he was being talked about as the future of the Italian defence but a big money move from Parma to Roma hasn't quite worked out for him. Saying that, he still played over 30 games for Roma last season, he is young, athletic and will give us added competition."

It is the addition of Dutch international Van der Meyde into an impressive Everton midfield, however, that will most intrigue the Goodison faithful. Moyes has tracked the 25-year-old since last summer, when he was originally valued at £4.5m, but injuries and his failure to recreate his Ajax form with Internazionale has seen his price plummet to £1.8m plus appearance-related bonuses.

However, his transfer to Goodison rests on the outcome of an intensive medical assessment over the course of this weekend, with a long-standing groin injury a cause for concern for both Internazionale and Everton. "He is still recovering from an injury but hopefully, if he passes his medical, he will sign a three-year deal and give us more pace and directness down either wing," said Moyes.

A potent goalscorer remains a priority for the Everton manager regardless of his success in a deal for Van der Meyde and Ferrari, with one squad player - perhaps Dickson Etuhu of Preston - and a left back completing the agenda.

Moyes, who has an injury doubt over Duncan Ferguson ahead of today's trip to Craven Cottage, admits he is uncertain how his players will respond to their defeat in Villarreal, although his frustration at Pierluigi Collina's performance remains evident.

Moyes said: "Bolton, Villarreal and Fulham away in one week is tough no matter what the circumstances and I'm not sure what effect it will have. I am still very disappointed that we are not in the Champions' League, it is a hard struggle for a team like Everton to even get a chance, and there is no question we were denied the chance to go through or at least take Villarreal to extra time by a referee's mistake."