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Sep 17, 2009

Australian international Neill joins Everton

Everton have confirmed the signing of former West Ham United centre back Lucas Neill on a one-year contract.

The 31-year-old joins Everton as a free agent after he rejected the offer of a contract extension with the Hammers during the summer; his existing deal had expired.

The experienced Australian international passed a medical at Everton's Finch Farm training ground on Thursday morning and the move was finalised ahead of the Toffees' Europa League clash with AEK Athens.

Neill will increase Everton's defensive options after a recent injury sidelined Phil Neville, Joleon Lescott was sold to Manchester City and Phil Jagielka continues to recover from a knee ligament injury.

Everton manager David Moyes said: "I'm pleased to have him. It gives us another player, especially with Phil Neville injured for another couple of months. It is very rare you can get a player after the window closes but fortunately he was out of contract and we were able to get him here."

Neil, who has also played in the Premier League with Blackburn Rovers, is the fourth permanent addition to Moyes' squad since the end of last season following Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, Sylvain Distin and John Heitinga.

Neill famously turned down a move to Merseyside rivals Liverpool two years ago and was linked with Sunderland and Atletico Madrid prior to signing for Everton.

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