David Moyes indicated yesterday that he saw no sign of an imminent breakthrough in his pursuit of Sporting Lisbon's Joao Moutinho and, as an unconvincing pre-season tour of the US continued, admitted that his side need five or six new players, fast.
"We can't hide the fact that we need new players," Moyes said. "Everybody knows it. We have to get five or six players in before the season starts." After offloading Andrew Johnson to Fulham for £10.5m, Moyes envisaged a second approach for Moutinho. An initial £11.8m offer was rejected.
There is little sense from Portugal that discussions are progressing, with Sporting indignant about the initial Everton bid and demanding £20m. But Everton, planning a £16m counter-offer for the Euro 2008 star, do not have time on their side, having lost for the third time in five pre-season games in the early hours of yesterday morning – James Vaughan was justifiably sent off in the 2-0 defeat against Chicago Fire – and many of Moyes's players seem short of form.
"We take very few positives, only Leon Osman's performance really," Moyes said of the latest match. "We are a long way away from where we think we are going to be but that is due to several different circumstances. We are having to use some of the lads more than we'd like to but some of them are just not playing well. Some of them are going to have to start looking at their own performances because we don't have any competition just now." Asked if he could see any imminent movement in the transfer market Moyes, who is touring the US with a paper-thin squad, replied: "Not at the moment, no."
Everton have yet to pick up any players in the transfer window, though there is a prospect that they may go head-to-head with Rangers for the signature of Slavia Prague defender Marek Suchy. Moyes has also been keen to find a replacement for Lee Carsley, who left for Birmingham in May. Cameroon midfielder Stephane M'Bia could fit the bill, in a £4m deal from Rennes. Everton are also understood to have been tracking the £10m-rated Real Zaragoza and Argentina striker, Diego Milito.