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Aiyegbeni Yakubu

Squad number 22
Position Striker
Joined on 21 August 2007
Joined from Middlesbrough
Transfer fee 11M
Full debut v Bolton W (A)
1 September 2007
Contract duration 5 years
Contract expires June 2012
Born Benin City, Nigeria
Date of birth 22 November 1982
Height 6' " / 1.84 m
Nickname(s) (The) Yak
Honours Nigeria (__ Caps)

Soccerbase Datafile
Wikipedia Entry

Burly Nigerian striker Yakubu became Everton's record signing in late August 2007 when David Moyes shattered the previous record transfer fee of £8.6M paid by Everton for Andy Johnson the year before. The Blues paid Middlesbrough £11.25M for the player nicknamed "The Yak" after it became clear that the player wanted to move to pastures new.

Yakubu, 24 at the time, was initially refused a permit by the UK Department of Employment because he had failed to play 75% of his country's internationals in the previous two years — due more to a disagreement with Nigeria manager Berti Vogts than anything else — but Everton won an appeal and the striker signed a five-year deal at Goodison Park.

As a replacement for the hapless James Beattie, Yakubu brought Everton some much-needed goalscoring credentials — he was second only to Thierry Henry in the Premier League goal charts over the previous four seasons and, therefore not surprisingly, the highest-scoring African player in top flight history.

He started his career at Israeli team Maccabi Haifa under Avram Grant, where he won two championships and had a phenomenal scoring record, both in the domestic and international competitions, breaking several club records. He came to England in 2001 and trained with Derby County but could not obtain a work permit. 

After scoring 7 goals in 8 European Cup appearances (including a hat-trick against Olympiakos) in the 2002-03 season Champions League, Yakubu moved to Portsmouth in January 2003.  His goals helped fire Pompey to the Football League Championship title, scoring at a rate of one goal every two games.

During the club's debut Premier League season, he scored 16 times in 35 starts, including four in a single game as Portsmouth defeated Middlesbrough 5-1.

After the 2004-05 season, he joined  Middlesbrough for 7.5M and continued to rack up the goals, scoring against all the so-called Big Four teams.

His goals dried up in the second half of the 2006-07 season, however, with Boro's Premier League prospects several rungs lower than when he had first joined. Throughout the 2007 close season Yakubu was constantly linked with moves away from the Riverside and it seemed as though he had made up his mind to leave as soon as strike partner Mark Viduka was sold to Newcastle United, a move that Yakubu deemed as confirmation of Middlesbrough's lack of ambition. While the likes of Portsmouth, Manchester City and Everton were all reported to be lining up bids for the frontman, it was David Moyes who eventually won out just a week before the closure of the transfer window.

Despite his goalscoring record, his arrival at Goodison wasn't greeted with universal approval, the enormity of that transfer fee perhaps unsettling supporters who aren't used to such sums being spent by an Everton manager.

And although he scored just 10 minutes into his debut at Bolton Wanderers, some fans remained sceptical that Yakubu would make the grade at Everton, if only because Everton weren't playing to his strengths.

Yakubu is a ball-to-feet player who uses strength to turn defenders and has the explosiveness to out-run them over short distances. His first few appearances in a Blue shirt were undermined by a lack of fitness consequent low workrate and the Blues' reliance on the long ball.

But when Tim Cahill returned from long-term injury and Steven Pienaar came to life in the five-man midfield formation that the Australian suits so well, Everton suddenly blossomed into a terrific footballing side. The increase in slick passing, quick interchanges and improved throughballs suited Yakubu down to the ground and he scored a hatful of goals between October and December 2007, including a hat-trick in a 3-0 win over Fulham.

True to his reputation, Yakubu was demonstrating that even with the greater graft required by Moyes of his players, the Nigerian is a finisher and can single-handedly turn a game with the right service. 

His first season at Everton proved once again what a superb goal scorer the big Nigerian was.  Lazy?.. yes, perhaps .. more like superbly economical with the expenditure of unnecessary energy that too many Everton's labeled as laziness who could possibly quibble about 21 goals??? When was the last time ANYONE managed that?!?!?

And so great promise for the big 2008-09 season, when Mores would finally take the Premier League by storm... That was until he blew his Achilles tendon at the end of November, after scoring just 3 goals, and ruling him out probably until next November... many even wondered if he would ever fully recover from such a cruel injury.  He returned to training in July 2009, and was eased back into making senior appearances again in September.

By Michael Kenrick and Lyndon Lloyd
Last updated September 2009

Everton Careerr
Season Squad
Apps (sub)
Apps (sub)
Apps (sub)
2007-08 22 26 (3) 15 10 (1) 6 36 (4) 21
2008-09 22 14 (0) 4 2 (1) 1 16 (1) 5
2009-10 () () ()
  Totals () () ()

Note: Everton Career Stats on ToffeeWeb are updated after every game.

Previous Career
Season Team Appearances (sub) Goals
1999-2003 Macabbi Haifa 50 24
1999-2000 Hapoel Kfar Saba [Loan] 36 24
2003-2005 Portsmouth 76 (5) & 8 (3) 36 & 7
2005-2007 Middlesbrough 67 (6) & 21 (9) 25 & 10

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