On this day: Everton sign Abel Xavier

Fourteen years ago today, Everton completed the signing of Portuguese defender Abel Xavier from PSV Eindhoven.

It seems hard to comprehend after yesterday's drama, but there was once a time when the transfer window did not exist. In fact, there has only been a deadline day as we now know it for the last 11 years.

Before that, clubs in the Premier League could trade players up until the last day of March.

It's a system that Everton took full advantage on this very day in 1999 when they purchased a Portuguese international from PSV Eindhoven, who had previously played for Benfica, Bari and Real Oviedo.

Abel Xavier had been signed by Walter Smith to help plug a leaky defence that had often seen the Toffees sucked into relegation trouble.

After an initial positive start to life at Goodison Park, injuries took hold and he also angered the club's supporters when he said that he had appealed a nine-month ban from UEFA matches, picked up during Euro 2000, to boost his chances in the transfer market.

He continued to feature in the starting lineup, fitness permitting, but by the time that contract talks had stalled in late 2001, the writing was on the wall.

Now sporting a shocking blond hair/beard combo, Xavier was transferred across Stanley Park to rivals Liverpool in January 2002, becoming only the fourth Everton player in history to make the switch to Anfield. His spell with the Reds would only last one term, though, before stints with Galatasaray, Hannover and Roma.

The versatile defender then joined Middlesbrough, where he failed a routine drugs test and after two campaigns, he was allowed to end his career with Los Angeles Galaxy in 2008.

Walter Smith
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