Everton are a step closer to landing Sheffield United defender Phil Jagielka.

If an independent arbitration panel goes against them and refuses to overturn their relegation from the Premiership next week, club chiefs will then admit that a fight for financial compensation is the best they can hope for.

And once their Championship status is confirmed for next season, Everton are then free to trigger the £4 million release clause that will enable Jagielka to complete his desired move to Goodison.