Liverpool expect Portuguese defender Abel Xavier to complete a medical today and sign a four-year deal which will see Everton receive a £800,000 fee for a player who could have left Goodison Park for nothing in the summer.
The 29-year-old was this morning undergoing his medical and he could be in Liverpool’s squad to face Leicester at Anfield tomorrow.
Liverpool’s assistant manager Phil Thompson said: ‘‘We will have to wait and see about that his availability tomorrow after he has completed the details of the deal.’’
Everton manager Walter Smith added: ‘‘It wasn’t our decision that he is going to Liverpool; it was the player’s, because he had turned down our offer of a new contract and had been told he could leave now if he could find himself a new club.’’
The shock on Merseyside at the rarity of a move from Goodison to Anfield will not be as strong as when Nick Barmby made the same trip in July 2000 for £6m.
Barmby’s departure was a major blow for Everton fans.
But Xavier, who joined from PSV Eindhoven for £1.5m in September 1999, has started only 45 games since then because of regular injury and illness problems.
Even so, Thompson added: ‘‘Abel is a quality player and an experienced international.
‘‘We have been looking to strengthen in defence for a long while. With the prospect of Markus Babbel now not coming back from illness this season, we have been keen to sign another defender and one who can play in the Champions League.’’
Xavier will be able to play in the Champions League if he is registered with UEFA by Thursday.