Araz Abdullayev an Everton player at last

Fri 07 Jan 2011 06:38 GMT | 10:38 Local Time

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Young Azerbaijani midfielder Araz Abdullayev has been transferred from Neftchi to English Premier League side Everton.

Neftchi and Everton officials confirmed the move at a news conference in Baku today but did not disclose the full terms of the deal or length of the contract, saying only that it was a long-term deal.

Abdullayev is not to leave for Merseyside straightaway. He will remain on loan to Neftchi until late February and possibly for the rest of the season.

Neftchi Vice-President Tahir Suleymanov explained the loan. "We can say that from 1 January he already belongs to Everton. But since Flavio is injured, we asked the English to allow Araz to stay with Neftchi for now. They gave their consent, for which we thank them. Abdullayev may leave for England during the second half of February.  He may also finish the season at Neftchi on loan. We have included a clause in the contract that Neftchi is the only club in Azerbaijan to which Araz can go on loan."

The Everton officials, who arrived in Baku on Thursday evening, brought a special training programme for the young midfielder, Suleymanov said.

"I am very glad to be transferred to such a famous club," Abdullayev told the press conference.

"I would like to thank the president of Neftchi for his support and Everton for their interest in me. Now I'm studying English hard, taking courses so that I can find a common language with my team-mates and in everyday life."

Everton Secretary David Harrison said the club was impressed by Abdullayev.

"We are very happy to be in Baku and glad to cooperate with Neftchi," Harrison said. "Araz is a talented footballer. He's caught our eye and impressed us. He will join our team soon. When will he make a first-team appearance at Everton? We will be watching his progress. Only then will he be able to join the first team."

As part of broader cooperation between Everton and Neftchi, a friendly match may be held in the summer in Baku, the Neftchi vice-president said.

Abdullayev is Azerbaijan's youngest ever international. He made his full international debut at the age of 16 in 2008 but is better known for a spectacular goal he scored against Scotland Under-21s in March last year.

Elmir Aliyev



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