There was an audible sigh of relief from the manager's office at Goodison Park last night when David Moyes discovered Andrew Johnson would play again this season and that Manuel Fernandes had brought an exhaustive search for a new central midfielder to a close.
Everton feared their record £8.6m striker faced a significant spell on the sidelines when he was taken to hospital on Sunday after a collision with the Wigan goalkeeper Chris Kirkland at the JJB Stadium. However, further tests yesterday confirmed the England international has not fractured an ankle and is expected to be out for "weeks rather than months".
"All the evidence suggests there is no bone injury and that the damage is confined to the soft tissues," the club's head physio, Mick Rathbone, said. "It is still a significant ankle injury."
Moyes' side have relied heavily on Johnson since his arrival from Crystal Palace last summer and though he will miss the Merseyside derby on 3 February, the diagnosis represents a boost for Everton in their pursuit of Uefa Cup qualification.
Those aspirations will be further encouraged today when the former Portsmouth midfielder Fernandes completes a loan move to Goodison until the end of the season. The 20-year-old joined Harry Redknapp's team in a similar deal from Benfica last summer, albeit on the arrangement that Portsmouth would make his move permanent once he played three consecutive Premiership games. That stipulation, injury and a £12m price tag restricted the Portuguese international to 12 appearances for Redknapp and, while the Everton deal does not include the three-match ruling, there are complications in the way of a permanent transfer to Goodison at the end of this season.
Both parties agree to finalise Fernandes' move to Merseyside should his loan spell prove successful but as Everton would have to pay Benfica £6m for 50 per cent ownership of the player - the remaining 50 per cent is under the control of Kia Joorabchian's Media Sports Investments group, which also owns Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez at West Ham United - that appears an unlikely development at this stage.
Everton have reached agreement with Fulham on a fee for the Wales international Simon Davies, who travelled to London for a medical yesterday ahead of an initial £2.5m transfer to Craven Cottage, rising to £3m on appearances.Reuse content