Andrew Johnson’s future is increasingly unclear after Everton insisted they have not received a £10.5million offer for the striker from Fulham.
That raises questions over why the England frontman left Preston’s Deepdale ground last night before his team’s friendly with the Coca-Cola Championship side.
Johnson was due to play in the match but after discussions with club officials he was omitted from the squad and departed.
Sources suggest that Johnson believed Everton had accepted a bid from the west London club.
But today chief executive Keith Wyness insisted no such deal has been agreed, and told www.evertonfc.com: “Contrary to some reports that have surfaced throughout the course of today, the club can confirm that no offer has been received nor has any deal been agreed for Andrew Johnson with Fulham Football Club.”
Johnson, it is believed, wants to return to London with his wife and family for personal reasons.
His departure from Goodison Park has been expected for some weeks, with both Wigan and Sunderland chasing the striker.
And it had been suggested that he would have been given permission to talk to Fulham today in light of his actions at Deepdale.
Fulham were believed to be the only side prepared to make Everton an offer that will provide them with a healthy profit on the £8.6m they paid for him in May 2006.
Johnson has scored 22 goals in 74 appearances for the Toffees.
But despite Everton’s insistence that no offer has been forthcoming from Craven Cottage, it seems certain that the former Birmingham and Crystal Palace man has played his last game for the Merseysiders.
Everton boss David Moyes – who wants to make “five or six” new signings – has intensified his search for a new striker, with Real Zaragoza’s Diego Milito and Darren Bent of Tottenham high on his wanted list.