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Right Midfield

By Peter Warren :  09/06/2010 :  Comments (32) :
We have one of the best midfields in the Premier League now but It’s clear to me that we need somebody on the right side to compliment our team. Anichebe and Osman can do a job there but are squad players in my view. I don’t think Coleman is suited to that position and am unaware of any youngsters who can realistically stake a claim. Bily has the potential but is likely to play on left particularly as it seems Pienaar will go.

Donovan has been mooted but I just don’t think it is realistic and believe the best we can hope for is that he comes on loan again. For me, a loan would be counter-productive to team spirit if he came again. I would love Joe Cole but his wages will be too much and it would be unrealistic to expect we could get him.

Perhaps Petrov, who I think is superb, although the way he plays, he’s far better suited on the left.

Who, if anyone, would people like to see and believe we have a realistic chance of getting?

Reader Comments

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Fran Mitchell
1   Posted 09/06/2010 at 14:17:47

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Debated before, will be debated again... sod it, just a few days til the World Cup, we can fill out time with something I guess,

Hatem ben Arfa & Petrov. Also get Donovan on loan again in January to give us that push for the title. Yes, the title, with odds of 150+ on betfair it'd be rude not to.

Would like to say Cole, but no chance.
Richard Parker
2   Posted 09/06/2010 at 14:36:44

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Let's be honest, if we get £5M or £6M for Pienaar with a year left on his contract, we'll have done exceptionally well. I have the feeling that we'll be looking at Bily on the left and Vic on the right. With Ossie as cover....

Maybe the Yak will go for £5M or £6M and Pienaar for £5M or £6M, to finance a move for Donovan?

Only problem is we'd be horribly light up front without Yak and I'm not talking in relation to the lad's girth.

Petrov — realistic, a signing in the Saha mould... can't rely on him to play much, has got talent, hasn't lived up to it recently.

Cole — never gonna happen.

Ben Arfa — almost as unlikely as Cole.

I would absolutely take no more signings and everyone contracted up, right now.
Fran Mitchell
3   Posted 09/06/2010 at 15:08:52

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£5M or £6M for Pienaar? No chance lad. If he goes it will be at least £10M, otherwise we'll keep him and lose him for nothing.

Heck, Steven Fletcher just signed for Wolves for £6.5M, albeit with longer on his contract.

£10M to £15M for Pienaar or it ain't worth selling.
Alasdair Mackay
4   Posted 09/06/2010 at 14:59:47

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The ideal winger would have pace, a trick, a delivery and a goal in him. If we can provide all of that down both flanks we will be dangerous. It is unrealistic to expect a player in our price-bracket to be able to tick all those boxes, but if we can have it in our squad on both sides we will be strong enough to challenge...

For me, the only thing Bily lacks from that list is pace. If we can recruit someone with pace for the left hand side then we can assume that that side is fine. This could be Pienaar, but realistically he is all but gone, so in terms of a replacement, Petrov is free and would make what money we do have (can get for Pienaar) available for other things, but he is ageing and losing his pace. Ledley is a good player and left sided, but lacks real pace. I don't think either of those are the answer.

I would like to see us try and get Donovan and N'Zogbia or Ben Arfa.

Hopefully we can raise the £6M for Donovan from existing funds. If not, you would hope that (given his national popularity in USA) a bank would be more keen than usual to lend on the strength of his commercial potential??

If we could pull that off we can spend all of the money raised from the sale of Pienaar (at least £12M after the World Cup, or I would keep him and let his contract run down) on N'Zogbia or Ben Arfa for about £10M.

Incidentally I would still like to see us sell Yakubu while we can still get £7/8M for him. I don't think he will be worth that in 12 months time and I believe that Anichebe is going to kick-on this year (8+ goals), Saha has one more 10+ goal year in him and if Beckford can chip in with 8-10 goals and Baxter come through with 2-5, we will have enough goals from midfield to compensate.
Kevin Gillen
5   Posted 09/06/2010 at 15:09:44

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I strongly agree with Richard Parker as in the questionnaire style of answering. This year's Lescott drama will be the Pienaar saga, unless the club set a deadline and act decisively.

I can see Spurs coming for Pienaar, in that case we might get Bentley, who will be good when he grows up... or Jenas, who, if the papers are to be believed, has long been coveted by Moyes. My preferred option would be to pay Pienaar and Arteta the money and hang on to them.

As for the right side of midfield, I expect Bilyaletdinov to mostly start and Anichebe to support him. I think playing Ossie on the right isn't fair, he's far more effective in the middle. Playing him out right just upsets him and the fans.

I see we've let Senderos go. A pity because I think he would have been a good acquisition for us. As for Donovan, it seems obvious to me we should also go all out to sign him too but at the end of the day this is Everton not Chelsea or Man City.

Tony McNulty
6   Posted 09/06/2010 at 15:23:34

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What we are lacking is a motivated, modern-day, Andrei Kanchelskis.

Finding such a player would be the missing piece in the jigsaw. Perhaps one might emerge during the World Cup.
Richard Parker
7   Posted 09/06/2010 at 15:33:52

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If Pienaar goes for £10M plus, then I'll gladly take a large slice of that humble pie. I just don't see it in today's market, with only a year left on his contract.

The only way we'll get that much for him is if someone is absolutely desperate to land him and not prepared to risk him signing for someone else when he's on a free.

I have a feeling he'll probably go for around £6M, maybe £7M. Like I say, I hope I'm wrong, but £10M-£15M is a lot of money for someone who will be free in a year's time.

The problem is that Pienaar falls in-between the quality of player that the clubs with the real cash will go after and the clubs with not much will go after.

There's only really clubs like Spurs, Villa, maybe Sunderland or Birmingham with the cash to buy him for £10M that won't be chasing more expensive talent. Would he really gain something from going to one of them? Spurs for the CL next year perhaps...

Fletcher for £6.5M — exactly why we shouldn't sell Yakubu.
Richard Parker
8   Posted 09/06/2010 at 15:47:20

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But, I do agree that we shouldn't sell for less than £10M.....
Chris Fisher
9   Posted 09/06/2010 at 16:34:57

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Cole would be amazing and would finally give the fans a big signing to get really excited about... but it won't happen, especially as we have no Champions League or even Europa action to offer this season.

I think we'll probably end up with a Petrov type player, someone who won't really generate much buzz for the fans but might turn out to be quite handy. Would love Donovan back as well, even if only on loan.

James Stewart
10   Posted 09/06/2010 at 16:35:23

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I agree with Fran: £10M is the bare minimum market price for Pienaar and we would easily get that. I think the fee should he go will be very close to the £12-13M mark.

Can't agree with Keven that Senderos would have been a good signing. One of the worst ever players I have seen in a blue shirt. Terrible! I was praying we did not sign him!

As for options on the right there would be plenty:

Ben Arfa

I would personally like to see Valon Behrami.

Also, if we are going to raid City, Bojinov would solve our attacking problems. He was one of the best strikers in Europe prior to injury. He can also operate on the rRight too.

Ciarán McGlone
11   Posted 09/06/2010 at 16:59:50

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How can anyone say we have one of the best midfields in the Premier League? We have a very unbalanced system without a single dedicated winger and an oversubscription for places in the middle.

What we do have is an incredible depth of quality in the central midfield position... We are severely lacking in other parts of midfield.

If Pienaar stays (fingers crossed), then we still have the problem of the right side and cover for both wings...

This season we've seen Cahill and Bily playing wide... none of those are ideally suited to that playing that position — and they're probably the likely cover short of taking Arteta out of his most effective position in the middle... But, then again, we're skint — so we may end up being forced into playing Mikel out wide!
Jeremy Buckley
12   Posted 09/06/2010 at 17:16:39

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Arteta on the right, Moutinho in the middle.
Jon Ferguson
13   Posted 09/06/2010 at 17:13:05

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I think making sure than Pienaar stays is the priority. If we can get Petrov on a free (which I think would be a great move) then we could play Pienaar on the right.

Even if both Pienaar and Petrov come off, I'd use all our transfer budget on a right winger. Pace and width is what we have been lacking for a while.

We have reasonable depth across most other positions except left back but, if Baines got injured, we could play Neville there.
Ciarán McGlone
14   Posted 09/06/2010 at 17:22:18

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If we had the money to buy Moutinho, then why not simply buy a right winger and keep Arteta in his most effective position?

Academic anyway... as I doubt we have money for someone like Moutinho.
James Flynn
15   Posted 09/06/2010 at 17:13:19

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We shouldn't be thinking of LD in the traditional transfer fee sense. He can't be priced out that way. I'd say MLS wouldn't know how to price him, as he's the only one the US produced in this position.

Plus, please don't confuse Landon's celebrity in America with MLS. Yes, they over-lap in certain ways, but remain two different things. MLS's plan is stable finance, and building franchises with soccer only/first facilities, then moving to the European schedule, and only then competing for US and World top players. But not now; including Landon. His greatest value to MLS is being seen on a top team in the most watched and followed soccer league on earth; EPL. That's his value to MLS. e.g. "Landon Donovan, for years the face of America's MLS".

"Landon, all your success with a great EFC side, do you still miss playing in America"? "I miss all my Galaxy teammates and the great fans in LA ..." etc.

That's his true value to MLS over the next few years, not a few more millions in cash they don't yet need.

Donovan's not just looking for a new challenge. He's made it abundantly clear, repeatedly, he wants to meet that new challenge wearing the EFC shirt. Not another EPL club, and not in the Galaxy. Everton. And I don't see the price to get him requiring other players leaving or EFC ownership having to get up off as much money as some think.

Yes, all this said, EFC still needs speed on the right flank until he gets there. But I believe he'll be the solution for the next 4 years or so.
James Stewart
16   Posted 09/06/2010 at 18:12:58

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Moutinho had a terrible season bar his 2nd performance against us. Hence he lost his place in the Portugal squad. I hardly think he is the answer even if we had a spare £15M, which we don't.

We do have a very unbalanced midfield. Arteta, Fellaini and Rodwell are first class CMs. Then you have Cahill, Osman and Bily and Pienaar who can all play there. Stack that against options out wide? Pienaar, Arteta, Bily, none of which were wide players prior to Everton. Its glaringly obvious what we need and it ain't Moutinho!

Neil Parsonage
17   Posted 09/06/2010 at 19:34:23

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We could try and get Lukas Podolski, worth about £10M, 25 years old, pacy right winger who can play up front, a younger better version of Donovan in my opinion, the only problem being trying to get him away from FC Cologne.
Dave Wilson
18   Posted 09/06/2010 at 20:43:32

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No matter who comes and goes, Victor Anichebe will be Moyes`s first choice to play wide right next season.
John Daley
19   Posted 09/06/2010 at 20:38:59

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Sorry, but is anyone else getting tired of this constant deifying of Landon Donovan? Let's put things in perspective: the guy had a fairly productive loan spell where he put in a couple of decent performances and demonstrated that pace on the right would provide us with more opportunities to open teams up. He didn't set the world alight, we're never going to sign him permanently, there are far better wide players out there, and if Moyes has any real money to spend this summer he certainly won't be blowing it on Donovan because he was never intended to be anything more than a short-term fix. Get over it for fuck's sake.
John Daley
20   Posted 09/06/2010 at 21:06:24

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Still hope he scores the winner against England on Saturday though!
Mike Elbey
21   Posted 09/06/2010 at 22:00:58

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With respect, I think the reason why people are so keen to see Donavan back is because he fitted in perfectly to our system of play.

Yes, I agree that what his loan spell showed more than anything was that we have desperately lacked a pacey right sided player for years.

Yes, I also agree that there are plenty of other pacey right-sided players, some maybe technically better than Donavan. However, what we know is that Donavan was ideal for us. How many of these other superstars you suggest would work back and support the defence? How many of them would settle in immediately the way Donavan did? That's the reason we all want him back — and add to that, I believe he would be affordable £5-7M tops...
Andy Crooks
22   Posted 10/06/2010 at 00:47:40

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I believed that Donovan would be a catalyst for us and to an extent he was. However, he won't be starting for us this season and in his absence, without money to spend I feel it is Vic or Seamus wide on the right. I don't believe that Bily and Tim Cahill can play in the same team so I'd start with Bily behind a, hopefully, fit Yak.
James Flynn
23   Posted 10/06/2010 at 00:55:43

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JD (17) – Long time no talk. From the top, eh:

1. “Sorry, but is anyone else getting tired of this constant deifying of Landon Donovan”? — C’mon now. Even I haven’t “deified” Landon. What are you, a Fox News reporter? Creating up a fictitious position to argue against? You can do better.

2. “Let's put thing in perspective: the guy had a fairly productive loan spell where he put in a couple of decent performances”. — OK. Opinions vary in discussion boards. I say he did much more than that, but he wasn’t what he could be all the time.

Nonetheless, he came from MLS and not playing for weeks and changed the way EFC played. You disagree with that? Fine again by me. Except you’re wrong. Either Landon proved the goods, or title-contending EPL soccer (which EFC played during his loan) is not all that it’s cracked up to be. Pick.

3. “Demonstrated that pace on the right would provide us with more opportunities to open teams up”. — He didn’t demonstrate. He did it with weeks off and near-zero prep against the best EPL had to offer.

4. “He didn't set the world alight”. — I assume this statement is connected to your deification one; Baby Jesus, the manger, the Magi...

5. “We're never going to sign him permanently”. — You just made that up.

6. “There are far better wide players out there”. — Bullshit. You’re not the first in here with that crap about LD’s relative ability.

a. Name 10 far better and reasons why. What, done already? Good.
b. Now name five who’d want to come and Moyes would want (forbidden to mention money). Others too have alluded to all these “far better” wide players. Where? Landon came and did it. Who are these seemingly abundant other right-wingers better than him?
c. “And if Moyes has any real money to spend this summer he certainly won't be blowing it on Donovan because he was never intended to be anything more than a short term fix”. — Well, agree any real money shouldn’t be blown. LD is not to be considered in the usual transfer fee sense. For MLS, transfer fees at this point are more media events than actual need for the money. For what LD will bring to EFC (on and off the field), he'll come cheap and sure as shit won’t ever be blown money.

7. We agree here at the end JD! LD’s coming back this year, be fantastic, and will be part of EFC’s return to glory.
“Get over it, for fuck's sake”.

Dave Lynch
24   Posted 10/06/2010 at 10:06:29

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Let's have a bit of common sense here... Landon is not world class, he is a very proficient player who fitted in well, he is a team player and to my mind is worth 10 big time Charlies. I would have him over the likes of Bellamy any day of the week. The lad is an honest player who doesn't sulk or hide.

Next bit of common: Everton will not win the prem.

John Daley
25   Posted 10/06/2010 at 10:59:35

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James Flynn:

1) Everton haven't been involved in "title-contending EPL soccer" since before the birth of the Premier league.

2) I have just made up the fact that we won't sign Donovan on a permanent deal? Ok, let us see where he's playing when the transfer window comes to a close this summer. It won't be at Goodison & I would happily have a sizeable wager on that now. He may return for a short loan spell again in the latter half of the season but that will be your lot I'm afraid.

3) Name 10 wide players who are far better than Donovan? Are you serious? Ribery, Schweinsteiger, Robben, Ronaldo, Iniesta, David Silva, Marek Hamsik, Malouda, Angel di Maria, Lennon. We've got absolutely no chance whatsoever of buying any of them, just like we've got no chance of buying Donovan.
John Daley
26   Posted 10/06/2010 at 11:36:13

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James Flynn:

Apologies, but I replied before reading the whole of your post. Donovan would come cheap in your opinion? He would have to be availsble on a free for Everton to be able to afford him. Any idea how much he actually earns at LA Galaxy when you include image rights etc?

Obviously you're enthusiastic about Everton's chances of success in the future but you seem terribly divorced from reality at times.
Gordon Blair
27   Posted 10/06/2010 at 14:06:46

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All this talk about Donovan is academic.

Mikel is moving out onto the right flank to make way for Moutinho and Riquelme (who has just been sighted at JLA again - I think he's got a summer job as a baggage handler) in the middle. FACT

Oh, and Dickov up front.
Ben Jones
28   Posted 10/06/2010 at 17:11:19

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We just basically need a natural right winger, and not somebody who is slow and cuts in constantly.

Dalmat from Liege is a good shout. Wright Phillips maybe if he's not happy at City?

To be honest, Donovan was class, but more importantly he showed us a balanced Everton midfield. Big Vic showed us this too.

But I still think we can get better than Landon.
Alasdair Mackay
29   Posted 11/06/2010 at 01:23:28

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Wright-Phillips is a good shout, Ben.

Do you think he is more attainable than Donovan?

He would be cheaper than N'Zogbia or Ben Arfa. He would cost less than we could get for Pienaar as well.
James Flynn
30   Posted 10/06/2010 at 20:37:09

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JD (25) - Part 3. You got me there. The discussion was on right-side wide where LD played for us and I should have been specific. I wasn't comparing him to Ronaldo, etc. But he was very good when he was there, DM wants him, and he's all but shouted to the world he wants to go back to EFC. There HAS to be a deal available.

JD (26) - BY EPL standards and from the numbers I see referred to in here, it doesn't seem to me he's paid that much. He signed for about $2.2 mil American. He also has an endorsement deal with Galaxy that's worth a little more than the salary. Does that salary appear out of whack with the team's budget? I don't know myself. He wants more money, he has to prove it first.

As far as endorsement deals, I'm clueless. The relative small amount he'd cost, can't see why some endorsement deal couldn't be worked. Which these last 2 sentences are as close as conceding I'm "divorced from reality at times" as I'll come.

Anything else EFC since I've come aboard ToffeeWeb, I consider my opinions to be down-the-middle mainstream with perhaps a more optimistic outlook than some. Most particularly for this coming season and LD's coming back.

Hey, call me crazy. I think DM is trying to keep everyone we've got, he's deepening the bench, we're gonna roll next season, and Donovan will be part of it.

Chris James
31   Posted 20/06/2010 at 12:13:15

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For my money, Landon should be our Number One transfer target bar none.

He's got pace, an eye for goal, some smart passing, a hard-working team-focused temperament and crucially that American never-say-die will to win.

We know he fits in the team both positionally and ideologically. He's also a major marketing asset, strenghening our presence alongside Howard in a market that has a rapidly growing appetite for soccer (Premier League at least).

Crucially, I think it's self-evident that Landon would also want to come to us over and above the majority of other clubs. After short trials elsewhere that went nowhere (ring any bells, Pienaar, Arteta, et al?) things really clicked for him at Everton and he knows he'd be a regular starter in a side that has a tilt at winning something this year (provided they can sort out a winger or two). I also think the MLS can see the massive benefit to themselves and US soccer generally of having another of their stars in the world's biggest league for a couple of seasons at least.

I know we don't have much (if any) cash floating around and probably won't be able to make our one signing till the start of August, but that's okay in this case — we know he can slot into the side without months of pre-season training in the Everton-way and if it's true that £6-8 million will be enough, well that's considerably less than we've managed to beg, borrow and steal in every preceding season.

So, all-in-all it's Donovan as number one target for me — I'd sell off a couple of fringe players for a collective £2-3 million (Vaughany and Lukas should be able to get that between them and they've already been replaced for free by Beckford and Silva) and go in hock for the rest (maybe even agree some sort of loan deals for a couple of our younger players to get MLS experience?).

Beyond that, although I think we need another top class (but perhaps Saha-style out of sorts) striker who can hold the ball up, unless the Yak goes (which I'm in two minds about), we're realistically looking at a Jo-style (but better!) loan deal here and it'll be this or frees for any other signings in covering positions for left-back and left-wing (I think Bily's going to come good but NOT as a pacy wingman).

Beyond that, I simply don't think we need anyone UNLESS of course we lose someone, like say Pienaar.
Jon Ferguson
32   Posted 22/06/2010 at 08:49:21

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After we were linked with him earlier in the summer, I watched Barrera of Mexico quite closely in the France game. He was quick and could go past a person, was involved in some nice passing interchanges and importantly for Moyes he tracked back and supported his full back.

He is only 21 and playing for a Mexican club, so could be affordable. Admittedly I’ve only watched him in one game, but he’s worth keeping an eye on!

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