Everton have issued a statement claiming that Joseph Yobo has signed a deal to stay with the club, after the Nigeriandefender claimed he had yet to agree terms with the Premier League outfit.

The Nigerian defender, who has impressed since arriving at Goodison in the summer, denied signing a permanent contract with club, arguing that although Everon and his fomer club Marseille had signed a deal, he had not agreed personal terms, because he was in the process of switching agents.

However, Everton chief executive Michael Dunford says that Yobo signed a five-year deal with the first year being on loan.

“As far as we are concerned the matter is quite simple,” Dunford told the club’s website.

“On July 9 this year, Joseph signed an agreement with Everton and agreed that he would accept a period of five years including the 12-month loan.

“I have in my possession a work permit issued to Everton Football Club valid until June 30 2007 when that agreement was lodged.

“On November 26 Everton exercised its option with Olympique Marseille to make the transfer permanent and I don’t think there is a great deal more we as a club can do.

“I am aware that Joseph feels that he would like us to review the contract, but as far as we are concerned, we have acted honourably in this.

“We have signed agreements in place and I would hope that the player understands the position and we can go forward from there.” D

“I believe that the player is now talking about changing his agent and that is his prerogative and that doesn’t involve Everton.

“He is entitled to change agents and we are willing to speak to any representative he appoints but I have to reiterate that in July when Joseph joined us – initially on-loan – he was aware that we had the right to take that option.

“We had to exercise that option by May 11 2003, we did that last month and Joseph was made aware of this and he accepts that.

“I have an agreement signed by Joseph that if Everton decided to take up the option which we have duly done, the following terms would apply for a five-year contract.

“If Joseph wishes to renege on that then that is an issue between Joseph and the club, but as far as we are concerned the matter is quite straightforward.”