Everton’s 2011/2012 Premier League campaign ended with a string of attacking performances and encouraging victories that left most bluenoses sighing into their scarves, bemoaning another slow start and a lack of summer transfer activity as the perpetual thorns in their frustrating side. It took the winter arrivals of loan stars Landon Donovan and Steven Pienaar, and the January signings of Darron Gibson and Nikica Jelavic to kick-start a season that had looked bleak in August when former talisman Mikel Arteta took his creative flair and deep brown eyes to pastures new, leaving the Toffees stuck for ideas and scrambling around for kneejerk hope.
This time around, David Moyes has moved quickly to avoid another panic, securing the services of free agent and Ranger’s (insert apprpriate word here) Steven Naismith: a player who, if he avoids injury, may be the long term replacement of Tim Cahill, as a similarly flexible and feisty poacher man. But with the ever looming spectre of Big Clubs With Big Money circling Goodison’s walls and significant gaps in the current squad, European football can only really be guaranteed with a few more shrewd moves of Moyes’ magic wand, allowing as always, for a wallet thinner than Lizzy.
1. Steven Pienaar
In an emotional interview with EvertonTV, after the last game of the 11/12 season, Pienaar wiped away tears as he described the importance of the club to him. The feeling is mutual. Skillful, deft, elegant and one half of a superb double act with Everton’s best player Leighton Baines, he can provide as much width and pace as he does experience and guile.
With his new manager Andres Villas Boas likely to look towards bright-eyed youth in an expansive 4-3-3 system, Pienaar’s exit looks probable – the only stumbling block is price, with Spurs rumoured to be looking for something in the region of £6million.
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