Gravesen may be ready to leave Everton

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The Independent Football

Everton have been warned they are almost certainly going to lose inspirational Danish midfielder Thomas Gravesen.

On the day the Goodison club distanced themselves from claims that they are in discussions with Thaksin Shinawatra over selling a stake in the club to the Thai prime minister, there were damning comments from Gravesen's agent.

Gravesen, currently on Euro 2004 duty with Denmark but banned from their opening game with Italy next Monday, is considering walking away on a free transfer next summer or choosing to move now.

Everton plan to have discussions with Gravesen after the finals. But the player's agent, the former Manchester United defender John Sivebaek, who had earlier said Gravesen would leave Everton if they failed to improve the squad during the summer, yesterday added: "Thomas has no problem staying another year in Everton, but quite frankly I find it hard to think he is staying.

"It would be wise to sell him now and make some money. That is up to Everton, but we are also speculating on letting the deal expire next summer."

He continued: "There's nothing wrong in saying you want to try something else. Maybe Everton won't get the improvements Thomas is looking for, because it is apparently not easy to get the huge stars to Everton.

"Hopefully something will happen around Thomas during the Euro 2004 finals. Everything will be open if he plays well, but on the other hand everything can also go wrong. Thomas is gambling under pressure, but he can handle that. It could be an economically good solution to let the deal expire, but that is not our strategy. It could end like that, but we are not double-crossing Everton, because Thomas likes the club, and we want to be straight. I think they understand Thomas would like to try something else."

Everton, who installed the owner Bill Kenwright as chairman last week and appointed a new chief executive in Trevor Birch, need cash to meet Moyes' plans. That means bringing in players to impress the likes of Gravesen and persuade the midfielder to extend his contract. But that cash, claim the club, is not coming from Shinawatra, who is still involved in discussions with Liverpool over a £60m cash injection.

Everton's director Paul Gregg is in Thailand finalising details of a shirt sponsorship deal with the brewers Chang Beer, but a club spokesman said "he has not been talking to the Thai government".

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