THE EVERTON manager, Walter Smith, agreed a pounds 4.25m fee for Newcastle's Steve Watson last night - and then tried to set up sales of three players to pay for him.
Smith is racing against time as Middlesbrough have also made a move for the versatile Watson, who is surprisingly being sold by Ruud Gullit to raise funds.
While Everton are the only side to have come up with the price Newcastle want, Smith has now been told by his chairman, Peter Johnson, to fund the deal by selling first.
Smith is therefore trying to move out sell the centre-half Carl Tiler back to Sheffield United for pounds 750,000 and to revive a double deal to take Craig Short and Mitch Ward to Nottingham Forest for pounds 2.5m.
Watson's future will be decided on Friday, when Newcastle return from European duty against Partizan Belgrade.
Nottingham Forest's French full-back, Thierry Bonalair, has returned to Paris for treatment on an Achilles tendon tear suffered last week, almost a year to the day that a heel injury cost him 15 games last season.
Forest's manager, Dave Bassett, said: "We are not sure how serious Thierry's injury is. …