Neill set for Everton farewell
Friday 15 January 2010
Lucas Neill is set to play his final Barclays Premier League fixture as Everton meet Manchester City tomorrow, admitting even he is shocked by his departure to Galatasaray.
The former Millwall, Blackburn and West Ham defender is to leave Liverpool for Istanbul after the City contest, joining up with Galatasaray in a deal believed to be worth around £750,000.
"The move has come as a surprise to me," Neill, who moved to Goodison Park in September, said on Everton's official website, www.evertonfc.com.
"I'd like to thank the staff and fans but most of all my team-mates for making my time at Everton very enjoyable.
"I am pleased to have had a positive impact on the team and the club and wish them every success for the future."
Neill, who joined Everton as a free agent after the expiry of his Hammers contract, will join up with Australia team-mate Harry Kewell at Gala and is eligible for the Turkish side's Europa League campaign.
While Neill is looking to pastures new, one player insisting he will be staying put is Manchester City's Micah Richards.
The defender has promised he will remain at Eastlands in the pursuit of personal and club glory, with City seeking a fifth win in five games under Roberto Mancini.
Richards said: "There is still so much for me to learn and my best is to come, and this will be a great place to be in coming seasons, I am sure of that."
City are battling it out to secure a top-four finish and a lucrative Champions League spot next season, while at the other end of the table, beleaguered Portsmouth are merely fighting for their future.
Pompey play host to Birmingham on Saturday after seeing their £7million share of the latest television revenue payments diverted by the Premier League to cover the south coast club's debts.
The future appears to be brighter at Birmingham, who are seeking to extend their unbeaten run to 15 games at Fratton Park.
Alex McLeish has recruited Michel from Sporting Gijon and has warned the midfielder he must quickly adapt to English football.
He said: "He knows the physical side of it is a must if he is going to be a success in England."
Another manager seeking to make inroads in the January transfer window is Stoke's Tony Pulis.
The Potters boss is keen to strengthen his forward line and has been linked with Real Madrid's Ruud van Nistelrooy, among others, ahead of the clash with Liverpool at the Britannia Stadium.
Whether the former Manchester United striker would be prepared to move to Staffordshire, however, is a different matter.
"I'd take Van Nistelrooy tomorrow if we could afford him or he wanted to come to Stoke," said Pulis.
"But going from Real Madrid to Stoke City, I'm not so sure that's sexy enough for him, but we'll see.
"What we've done is we've made enquiries for four or five people."
Elsewhere tomorrow, Sunderland travel to leaders Chelsea, Burnley meet Manchester United at Old Trafford, Tottenham host Hull and Wolves meet Wigan.
In Sunday's games, Aston Villa play West Ham, Blackburn meet Fulham and Owen Coyle makes his debut as Bolton boss at home to Arsenal.
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