VIEW FROM THE BLUE
Ever since he refused the improved contract offer that has been on the table at Goodison since last summer, Steven Pienaar's departure has felt more or less inevitable, but it doesn't diminish my personal sadness at seeing him finally go this week.
Besides the obvious pride at having a South African international in the Everton team ? for three years before I left in 1985 the young Pienaar and myself lived in the same city, Johannesburg ? there was also the satisfaction in knowing that a talented player had resurrected a stalling career with the Blues and that we had provided him the platform to do that.
But it's what it says about the Everton's current position in the game that is most disappointing ? once again, we've seen a top player, the reigning player of the season, leave the club for one that was inferior to us a couple of seasons back (at least in terms of league position) or one that we regarded as peers in our under-achievement in the Premier League era.
It's hard to blame the player at all, really. He clearly felt that having been highlighted as the team's most valuable player in 2009/10 he deserved a contract of equal value to that of Mikel Arteta who, of course, became the club's highest-paid player in August with a contract believed to be worth £75,000 a week. While possibly a financial decision on the Club's part, it was also a reflection of the difference in the perceived value of the two players to David Moyes's side... however misguided that perception may now look with the benefit of half a season as a lens through which to view the two players' form so far.
At 28 and approaching the peak of his career, Pienaar also wants Champions League football and though Everton have come close to breaking into the exclusive club in recent seasons, the current campaign has demonstrated all too painfully that it will remain elusive for the foreseeable future. With all three of the teams that were in the running for services ? Tottenham, Chelsea and Inter Milan ? able to fulfil that dream for him immediately, the career choice is a "no-brainer" and the only decision that remained was to move now or at the end of the season and that was dictated, it seems, by Chelsea's attempt to beat Spurs to the punch this month, a move that forced Harry Redknapp to move up his plans to snag his man.
Had Everton made the kind of start to the campaign that most of us were expecting and capitalised on one of the most open title and European races for years, Pienaar's decision would have been a lot harder and with loyalty, a first-choice place in the side, and a settled life in the northwest all coming into play, he may well have elected to take the reputed £65,000 a week and commit his future to Goodison. Of course, with the dog's breakfast we made of the first half of the campaign, we'll never know.
Even accepting that there may have been a little greed to accompany the ambition on Pienaar's part, I genuinely wish him well and thank him for his ceaseless effort and commitment on the pitch for the Blue jersey, not to mention that wonderful goal at the Emirates last year. A more cynical view would put his continued effort this season down to the "shop window" effect, but I honestly believe he's the kind of player who always gives 100% iyt it remains to be seen if that will be enough at White Hart Lane.
Evertonians are divided over just how much we'll miss Pienaar, with his critics pointing to the fact that his solitary assist this season came in the League Cup defeat at Brentford, a statistic that defies belief when you consider just how integral he was to the team's attacking unit. Handicapped on the right by Phil Neville's lack of attacking ability, the Blues have been over-reliant on the Pienaar-Baines axis ever since it flourished into such an effective partnership so "Schillo's" departure will leave a void that will be hard to fill.
We got a glimpse at Anfield last Sunday of just how much Pienaar will be missed as the link-up man in midfield and as someone who is often tenacious at tracking back. His goals return may have been highly disappointing and his final ball exposed to be lacking by the afore-mentioned assists statistic but the amount of possession that goes through him and his importance as someone who can think quickly and set up attacks is harder to quantify.
I sincerely hope that it is Diniyar Bilyaletdinov and not Leon Osman who is tasked with filling Pienaar's shoes in left midfield. As faithful and useful a servant as Osman has been, it's clear to these eyes that Bily, an established Russian international with enough natural ability and a sufficiently rich pedigree to move Moyes to spend £9m on him, is the more talented player.
He certainly weighs in with more goals ? seven in his debut season ? and has a left foot that can be a fertile source of chances and he has shown in his last two outings, the FA Cup tie at Scunthorpe and his substitute's appearance against Liverpool, that he is ready to try and earn the right to call that left-sided slot his own.
Of course, fans have their reservations given what has appeared in the past to be lack of effort on his part and the weaknesses in the defensive side of his game, but he certainly deserves an extended run in the side to prove his worth... and with the big Premier League prize places probably beyond Everton this season, what does Moyes have to lose?
I also fervently hope that some effort is made to replace the loss of Pienaar's quality this month, even if it's not specifically in that left-midfield berth, but I've seen enough transfer windows end in disappointment not to be holding my breath on that one. It may well be that we'll be looking to the Bilys, the Gueyes and the Osmans of the squad to step up and carry us through... though for how long and to where, who knows?
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1 Posted 20/01/2011 at 06:29:08
We will miss the wee fellow and the optimist in me says that the hole will be plugged by Bily and the up coming youth. On a good day I can believe that we are on the Arsenal path, bringing in youth and selling players for high value when the time is ripe.
On a bad day; well we are on that downward trajectory with its inescapable end point of endless mediocrity and Everton purley being a breeding bround for the monied elite.
One thing is certain, ALL clubs sell their best players or accept that a Bosman is on the horizon.
2 Posted 20/01/2011 at 07:09:10
3 Posted 20/01/2011 at 07:15:15
It's also a sad indictment on the club that we've had to quibble on wages with one of our best players, both in terms of commitment and ability, while other clubs can afford to splash cash in his direction without breaking a sweat (notwithstanding the fact that an extra 10,000/wk isn't just a "quibble" by the average working person's standards).
The greatest irony/tragedy of the whole episode is that we've spent 9 million quid on one of his possible replacements, who, unfortunately, has yet to prove himself adequately either in that position or at this level. It may be that Billy will come good eventually, but it may also be that we'll look back at this one day and rue the sale of Pienaar and wonder if the money we paid for Billy could've been better spent.
4 Posted 20/01/2011 at 07:32:38
For some reason he was seen as a Right winger, a fact that 90% of the Street End believed to be true, even when it was stated catagorically that he was more of a central midfielder, this backed up by his ability to striker a ball better than anyone at the club.
I have no doubt that Moyes believed he was signing a winger, but he's not a winger in any stretch of the imagination, and the persistent moves to play him there are just desperate and futile from a man who's European scouting network is questionable, to say the least.
The only reason I believe he hasn't been sold is because Moyes won't give up on pushing that square block into that round hole.
So yes the money could have been better spent on a more natural wide person, but Billy is a talented lad, but only if he plays him in his right position.
Time will tell.
Boo boys at Goodison could probably wind it in a notch like.
5 Posted 20/01/2011 at 07:49:41
Pienaar - history now so let's brush ourselves down and see where we are....
Moyes might get a couple of quid to buy a replacement but if he does were looking at a championship player or an unknown foreigner.
Given how tight money is I think he'll revert to either
A. Osman - club servant, dependable, will turn up every week and put a shift in just not one of the highest quality.
B. Bily - flashes of sheer class but complete paperweight when it comes to getting stuck in plus bit of a puzzle as to where his best position lies. I'm not convinced it's left wing and in fairness to him if Moyes doesn't start playing him soon Moyes should put him out of his misery and sell him to club that wants him.
Gueye - 'the secret weapon' I definitely think were going to see a lot more of this lad now and would take a punt - fingers crossed - on him being SP's long term successor. There's a good chance he's Moyes next example of 'working wonders in the transfer' market but that's more out of hope than expectation.
So - the bottom line is the position is up for grabs and it's up to bily and Gueye especially to seize the opportunity. Ossie will be happy as a utility squad player and is probably be best utilised as that.
My prediction is Bily will try but fail and Gueye will be a new 'demi-hero' who will divide opinion amongst Evertonians.
But I might, as usual, be completely wrong. I just hope something works out......
6 Posted 20/01/2011 at 08:21:17
In yesterday's papers Billy seems to be up for it and stating he IS, in his own opinion, a wide player or central if required, even putting himself up as a potential stand in fullback (perish the thought!). No lesser manager than Gus Hiddink rates him highly, we've all seen the skills and the lethal shooting, it is therefore make or break time for this guy, let's give him a run in the team.
7 Posted 20/01/2011 at 08:47:01
8 Posted 20/01/2011 at 08:42:02
His tracking back and his partnership with Baines will almost certainly be missed - though the latter has failed this season to hit the heights of previous ones. His goal away to Arsenal was certainly my favourite of last season, and there were other serious contenders. I can't see how he'll make the Spurs team though, given the quality of wingers they have, Perhaps a central role alongside Modric, but anyway - who cares about that!?
9 Posted 20/01/2011 at 09:30:14
10 Posted 20/01/2011 at 09:02:52
Good football is made possible by good movement and no matter how well/badly he was playing, Pienaar was always available.
You have every right to be proud Lyndon, SP has been one of the best Everton players for years.
11 Posted 20/01/2011 at 09:57:22
12 Posted 20/01/2011 at 10:28:18
13 Posted 20/01/2011 at 10:32:19
Terrible to see last years player of the season leave - to a rival - for er, peanuts. Especially as with Coleman on the other wing we were starting to gain another dimension. Back to the drawing board, lets just hope that lightning strikes once again and adversity will see one of our current squad step it up ala Jags / Baines / Coleman
14 Posted 20/01/2011 at 10:32:18
I am not sure that he is a natural winger but neither was Pienaar. His cutting inside was what allowed Baines to be so effective.
Billy has the intelligence and footwork to bring the best out of Baines but also provide a little more of a goal threat than stevie P did.
What he needs to learn is work ethic. Getting up and down the pitch and hassling opponents like his predecessor.
Fingers crossed our russian enigma takes this opportunity. If not, then one has to ask why do we have a £9m asset that can't seem to get near the first team depreciating on the bench!
15 Posted 20/01/2011 at 10:52:00
If Bily ever makes it, which is the biggest IF ever, I don't think it will be on the left. He has an eye for a pass and a decent shot but his workrate is poor, he can't track a run and he let's the game pass him far too often.
IMO it's behind a striker or nowhere for Bily, so he better get used to nowhere.
16 Posted 20/01/2011 at 11:02:49
The thing that was missing though, was an awful, powder -puff shot and not enough goals or assists. All the same though, he will be loss to the team.
My main concern is that we are turning into a club who cannot keep up with the average wage for a good P.L. player. This will send us into a worse downward spiral than ever before.
If Fellaini demands 80k a week to renew his contract and we can't get near it, the big boys will snap him up.
Unfortunately, we have to pay the going rate for a player in demand, or we all may as well give up. You can admire principles all you want, but they don't apply to modern football.
Have you read the story about Jermaine Pennant ? He forget he owned a £ 98,000 Porsche, and left it in a Railway station car park for 5 months. They had to contact him to collect it !!!!!
17 Posted 20/01/2011 at 11:19:50
Do you "have every confidence" on good authority as usual?
18 Posted 20/01/2011 at 11:17:21
My big worry is over Felliani's contract. Even though he has two years to go in the summer, the club need to be making approaches to him about extending. Hopefully they already are. He is a young player who is starting to really show what he can do given a regualr start in the same position. I hope his head is not turned by the desire to play regular European football which it looks increasingly likely he will not enjoy at Everton FC. He is definitely a player who would attract interest here and abroad. Maybe we could have been prepared write off the 2m originally paid for Pienaar but we can't write of the 12 - 15m paid for Fellaini if he wishes to run his contract down. Unfortunately we loyal fans can't trust that incompetent, infuriatingly silent board to do anything in the best interests of our beloved club.
19 Posted 20/01/2011 at 11:19:50
Do you "have every confidence" on good authority as usual?
20 Posted 20/01/2011 at 11:34:26
21 Posted 20/01/2011 at 11:41:10
22 Posted 20/01/2011 at 12:23:16
His movement, availability, passing are second to none in the Premiership and it is a crying shame he has gone somewhere where I don't think he will be as appreciated. None of his replacements mentioned above appear to have this lad's industry, commitment or ability. Pienaar was one the most fouled players in the Premiership and its easy to see why. Bilyaletdinov appears to me to be a good technical player but he is not especially quick or industrious and in truth doesn't look physically strong enough for the demands of a full season in the Premiership. Also his confidence looks shot after nearly a year in the reserves or on the bench, he needs to get on the ball a bit more for my liking. In his defence he has scored some wonder goals and has a terrific shot. I hope he proves me wrong and lights up our second half of the season but I don't know if he has the cojones for it. As for Gueye I cannot believe he is going to make a big impression otherwise surely he would have had more game time already. I know Moyes is conservative but he's not a fool, if the lad was a bit special he would be in the team by now or at least have had a few more games behind him. Which brings me to Ossie. I like Ossie but not at left wing. He has played some great games through the middle and like Pienaar at least has the balls to try and make things happen further up the pitch (it amazes me how some people in our team are lauded for slowing the game down constantly with mind-numbing easy balls even Mr. Magoo can see). But left wing? I refuse to condemn him when he's played there. I wonder if we might see some other solutions, Arteta, Baxter (if he's gonna make it it's gotta be soon!) or even Bidwell or Garbutt with Baines pushed on. It is a massive opportunity, there is a vacancy and someone needs to put their hand up! I would also like to say to Doddy I am an eternal optimist but I can't see a suitable replcement for Pienaar coming in this transfer window, but go on Moyesie, surprise me!!!
23 Posted 20/01/2011 at 12:08:46
I really thought Moyes would kick up more of a fuss to keep this type of player at the club and id love to know the reason why the board thought Arteta was worth that type of money but Pienaar wasnt? They have made a rod for there own back but thats for another argument!
At the end of the day he's gone now so we have to move on and for what its worth i dont think he will be a great player at Tottenham like he was for us. For all the great attributes listed above he still comes up short when it comes to that killer pass and scoring goals, somethink that Bale, Van der vaart, Modric and Lennon can all do. So when the honeymoon period is over I think he will find himself on the bench and probably out the door in 18 months time with spurs making a nice little profit.
24 Posted 20/01/2011 at 13:02:45
Moyes once again has messed this up significantly instead of throwing loads of time, effort and money at Arteta because his agent told him Arsenal were interested (my arse they were) he should have made the effort with Pienaar and made him our highest paid player because he was our best player.
What a crap cover story as well BK and Moyes - 'Tottenham want Neville' No they dont we are not stupid!
Lets look on the bright side Anichebe has signed - were guarenteed success now, did Tranmere lose interest in him.
25 Posted 20/01/2011 at 13:00:46
Personally wish Peanuts all the best and thanks for the hard work. Still have no idea why Redknapp wants him given the attacking midfielders he's already got; VDV, Modric, Krancjar, Bale, Lennon, to name just a few.
Anyway, we got our money back and with him and the Yak gone, we should be saving around 80-90k a week in wages. Add this to the 2.5m transfer price and this must surely mean Moyes can bring someone in - if even just on loan.
I really hope Moyes gives Guere a chance on the left as he looked to have real pace and hunger which we really miss. Osman is good in the squad but should not be in the starting 11.
Not sure about Billy. His best (IMO) position is the cahill role, which of course cahill will get when he comes back. So does Moyes paly him there? (Think he should have in the derby once Saha was injured) or try to convert him into a winger - which has not worked up to now.
Either way, I think our most pressing need is to get another striker in now that the yak has gone and saha is so injury prone.
Depsite his huff and puff, I think we should have sold Anichebe (if we could have). I dont see what he really brings. He will never score enough goals or hold up the play enough to be a good striker, he is not a wide midfielder and he cannot play in the middle? He is big and quick and that's about it in my view - others may disagree but I still dont see the point in keeing him if we can get around 2-3m for him. Sell him and bring some of the younsters through - baxter, duffy etc.
Also where is the portuguese striker we signed in teh summer - has anyone seen him playe in the reserves? If so any impressions?
11 days left, lets see what happens.
26 Posted 20/01/2011 at 13:25:41
On the other hand may spell out a move for Jarvis who i think looks pretty useful.
27 Posted 20/01/2011 at 13:31:38
I think the 3 clubs who were chasing him must think differently, not bad to have Chelsea, Spurs and Inter all after your services.
28 Posted 20/01/2011 at 14:59:52
2-3m is peanuts (no pun intended) for these three and is way below his true value.
Cannot see any of these clubs coming in for him had he been on the market for say 10m.
Still think he should have been sold in the summer when it was known he did not want to sign a new contract. Still whats done is done and good luck to him.
Onwards and hopefully upwards...
29 Posted 20/01/2011 at 14:58:51
We really need a boost with a good signing and I just cant see it coming despite the assurances of Doddy.
30 Posted 20/01/2011 at 14:05:55
I cant think of many more reasons why the lad hasn't been given a chance. He's made 3 competitive appearences this season with 2 assists. I've seen him at these games and also 2 pre-season games where he looked lively at Preston and played well against Everton, delivering a great cross for Beckford to score. I seen him deliver another good cross against Huddersfield that set Fellaini up for the first goal and in his last cameo appearence against Scunthorpe he produced a clever little cut back that set Baines up for a great goal. He's had a few cracks at goal and looks to have a bit of pace and a good left foot on him too. He looks hungry and keen to impress also.
Im not saying he's the next Ronaldo or even be a regular starter for Everton but surely he deserves more than 3 cup appearences especially when you think about the amount of times this season we have cried out for somethink different in the last 15-20 minutes of a game.
So why on earth wont Moyes give him a chance? Or is it a case that Moyes cant give him a chance???
(No premiership appearences either, interesting!)
31 Posted 20/01/2011 at 15:13:56
When has Doddy ever been wrong?
32 Posted 20/01/2011 at 15:18:00
33 Posted 20/01/2011 at 15:52:57
When has he ever been right?
34 Posted 20/01/2011 at 17:49:56
35 Posted 20/01/2011 at 17:56:35
All those in favour say 'aye'?
36 Posted 20/01/2011 at 18:19:15
Blackpool would be entitled to slap an inflated price tag on him , given his status and impact on their season...I couldn't see them letting him go unless they were making silly money on him.
Bargain basement time for us again mate I'm afraid - and there was a time buys like Charlie would have been considered bargain basement - what does that say abot our purchasing power now?
37 Posted 20/01/2011 at 19:14:14
Holloway has stated he is under contract and there's no way he's moving yet even for silly money so I guess we should file that under plan B although I would love him in our side.
38 Posted 20/01/2011 at 19:31:01
More annoying is reading the total tabloid shite that Everton are showing interest in certain players, Adam is an example. Do these cretinous rumours origin from the club to try and convince the gullible that Everton really do have loads of money but our prudent chairman is wise enough not to rush into spending it?
39 Posted 20/01/2011 at 19:52:21
Poor passer, little vision, poor control, gives lots of fouls away...most expensive signing!
I'd be glad if Chelsea "snapped him up".
No wonder BK's put the cheque book away. Bilyaletdinov cost ~9mill and he can't even get a bloody game!
40 Posted 20/01/2011 at 22:19:16
41 Posted 20/01/2011 at 23:08:51
The Pienaar money is going on Dale Jennings in the summer.
And that is a fact.
42 Posted 21/01/2011 at 13:18:01
Sorry but I heard it's benn ring-fenced to pay this season's police bill
43 Posted 21/01/2011 at 16:08:50
Touche, baggy face.
44 Posted 21/01/2011 at 17:53:19
Imagine giving him that payrise, then he goes and plays like Arteta?
Nah get rid.
We have had better results without him in the team.
Baines is good enough to link with any of the other players down the left.
Did Pienaar ever cross the ball? Oh yes I remember at Old trafford when Cahill headed in. Years ago.
Has he ever had the chance to cross the ball? Yes, every game he plays in.
Now, scarily enough the jury is still out on Billy.
Here is his chance.
45 Posted 21/01/2011 at 18:06:56
Whether he warms the bench for £75k a week, with his "God is Great" vest never to see the light of day again, who cares. As far as I'm concerned, he doesn't play for Everton, so my interest ends there.
The real question should be how our reining "Player of the Season" is allowed to leave for next to nothing. Everyone could see Pienaar wasn't gonna sign a new deal, so why didn't we cash in in the summer? If the issue was over money, and we coundn't/wouldn't meet his wage demands, why wait 6 months to sell up, reducing his sale value further?
Ditto for Yakubu. Why wait 6 months just to loan him out to a Championship team, instead of selling him in the summer when West Ham came in for him?
If you include the Gosling debacle, this season has turned to shit at a rate of knots.
Regarding right-mid, as for Gueye, he must not be that good otherwise he'd be playing more often...........surely.
People on here have commented that the club lack's direction......not true. The direction we headed in is down. Not relegated (hopefully), but down the table as compared to previous seasons. It's a worry when the likes of Stoke are outspending us.
Loaning out players to to be able to afford to loan in others.....lovely!!!
But that's OK because it's only a matter of time until Mr 24/7 finds the mythical idiot willing to part with millons to invest in our club for no return whatsoever.
Not that I'm bitter or anything.............
46 Posted 21/01/2011 at 19:43:16
47 Posted 21/01/2011 at 21:57:02
With the Yak, I dont think he had any intention to sell him, but somthing has gone on maybe to annoy Moyes. He was starting to play well and dropped.
48 Posted 22/01/2011 at 17:08:32
I honestly don't believe we will see this lad..and the reason is very simply. Mr Dour twat isn't known for giving kids a chance ...and thats been backed up numerous times.
Remember Coleman? he shoved him in defence, when he had no choice brought about by so many injuries in the eufa cup a couple years back?
Then he decides to shove him on the wing, and the rest is history...but Coleman would never have gotten his chance if the injury list had not have mounted up.
No instead we'll continue to see the very poor players like Anichebe get preference over Guyere, despite the lack of ability of the forementioned.
I am more concerned about our survival in the premier league. Today we showed just how badly we miss Pienaar already.. Absolutely fuck all balance and dismal play.
Not sure about you, but I wouldn't be surprised if we continue to loose players, who want to win things, coz I just cannot see us winning a thing under this dour, negative inept manager.
The writing was on the wall last year, this year its home to roost.
49 Posted 22/01/2011 at 17:18:21
Moyse could have sold him, but he chose not to. Not saying he won't in the summer, but the fact he hasn't in this transfer window, tells me he has been loaned out so that Moyse can see if he still wants him come the summer transfer window...if he has improved or not.
We can't afford to take the chance with him right now, we really are in deep trouble...it was either giving Beckford more of a prolonged run or relying on a fat striker who right now couldn't hit a barn door 2 yards away...if it is a wake up call, its a good one since he scored for leicester city..but we've seen him do this the first time around for every club he played for..remember Middsbro?
50 Posted 22/01/2011 at 17:27:58
I most certainly don't and I don't many others do too.
He may be a mercenary for the money, but can you honestly blame the lad? He wants to play champions league footie...not potentially championship shit, we are staring down the barrel at.
And with the financial situation at Everton getting worse every season...it won't be long before we see even more players leaving for pastures new.
time to face facts..we are a destitute club, ground falling down around our ears, and we can't even bring loan players in due to said lack of funds.
And Pienaar despite the money still gets a kick in the balls because he wants to win something?
Football is and has been a mercenary game for decades..you either get used to it or you don't.
It's painful to see players leave for a chance to win things we won't as a club for a long time to come unless some major miracle happens...premier league survival or the champions league ? thats the no-brainer...no matter how loyal you are.
51 Posted 23/01/2011 at 00:36:16
I thought Fellaini was excellent, Distin and Heitinger were steady. Our poor forward line and some of our midfield were boys against men. Beckford and Anichebe are both learning their trade, as is Coleman and, given time, I think they'll all become decent players. We've no real threat up front and we don't have a commanding midfielder. Arteta nisn a shadow of his former self but we've no one to take the pressure off him by giving him a few weeks in the reserves.
I hate what's happening to our club. Maybe I'm a bitn simplisic but I can't see anything changing for the better, while this crew are in charge. Sir John Moores must be turning in his grave. As much as I look down on our red offspring, they've got rid of a pair of owners and a manager. We seem to have given in to some sort of fatalism. I hope to feck we change very soon and chase this crew out. But there again I'm just another who can't even raise a shout against this awful feckin situation we're in.
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