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Donovan or a Defender

By Mike Oates :  31/07/2010 :  Comments (40) :

It looks to me as though quite a lot of us are getting slightly ahead of ourselves. I refer to the clamour that if we keep the current players and hopefully add Donovan, a Top 4 place is almost a certainty, we have a squad of players which every other Top 8 manager would dream of and we are about to play the most fantastic ? Barcelona-esque? type of football the Premiership has ever seen.

Well just lets keep our hats on for a little while. I still see a few problems ahead of us. While we all seem to think Donovan is the missing jig-saw piece, I still get the jitters whenever I see Yobo in our defence, and particularly if he?s next to Hibbert — and therein lies my concern — our defence will prove to be our Achilles this season.

Whilst we all hope that Coleman will become Moyes?s first choice right back and if cover is ever required there then Neville would fit in, I don?t see that Yobo could effectively cover for either of the two centre halves. He is becoming the biggest liability on our books. He has struggled for the last 2-3 years, his confidence is shot and he will undoubtedly cost us goals big time if he is called on to play. We desperately need 4 good centre halves, Jags (who hopefully is not out for the next 2 months), Distin, Heitinga and someone else ( Duffy is far too young). I don?t believe Moyes will ever want to choose Jags and Heitinga as first choice pairing if we loose Distin to injury Yobo will cover.

At left back we have Baines and er ?. Baines. The attacking threat we have this season is very dependent on the likes of Coleman and Baines bombing down the wings. We have cover for Coleman just about but we have no-one who can cover for Baines effectively.

WE have enough ammunition going forward with Saha, Beckford, Yakubu, Pinnear, Bily, Gueye, Anichebe, Vaughan, Cahill and enough quality with our playmakers, Arteta, Rodwell , Fellaini . If Donovan joins then Moyes?s problem will be how can he keep all these players happy and happy enough to stay for the duration of the season.

In my mind we have only 7 defenders good enough — Hibbert, Coleman, Jags, Heitinga, Distin, Neville and Baines. We desperately need more cover there and if Bill Kenwright can come up with cash — who would you spend it on — Donovan or a quality defender — preferably left footed.

Reader Comments

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Spragg Johnson
1   Posted 31/07/2010 at 22:18:33

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Winston Reid who played for (unbeaten) New Zealand at the World Cup can cover right back and centre back, is only 21, quick and proved (when he knocked one past Mucha) that he can pop up for a goal ... wouldn't cost much from his mid table Danish club.
Everton also have a Youth Academy in New Zealand ... win win situation.
Gerry Quinn
2   Posted 31/07/2010 at 22:20:08

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A quote from Moyes this afternoon that we all may find somewhat disappointing:

After his side's 4-2 win over Norwich City at Carrow Road, Moyes said: 'The price which the MLS would want would be big and that might be a problem.'

Brendan O'Doherty
3   Posted 31/07/2010 at 22:17:28

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"I don?t believe Moyes will ever want to choose Jags and Heitinga as first choice pairing if we loose Distin to injury Yobo will cover."

The thing is Mike, he used Heitinga and Neill for a sizeable part of last season, and they are both right-footed. So I don't see how you can say that.

But in answer to your question, Donovan, without a doubt. But the huge proviso is as usual, "if Bill Kenwright can come up with cash."
Frank Nolan
4   Posted 31/07/2010 at 22:25:44

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Mike, I couldn't agree more. Moyes, as a former centre half, must know how vital it is to have cover in defence. But it seems we are dangerously short. If Jags is out and Distin gets yet another knock I'm not sure who we'd play at the back. Heitinga and Fellaini (or Neville) maybe? Don't laugh, just come up with something better. Cover for Baines is also a top priority.

Who is there out there we could bring in? I haven't a clue, but with no money to spend it's time DM raided the second tier, just like he did to get Jags and Lescott a few years ago.
Derek Thomas
5   Posted 31/07/2010 at 22:49:40

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Eugene Ruane
6   Posted 31/07/2010 at 22:50:34

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Love that America "WHOOOAAAHH AWRIIIIIIIIIIDE" winning mentality.
Gavin Ramejkis
7   Posted 31/07/2010 at 22:51:42

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Donovan, speculate to accumulate, get the lad in whilst his stock is high and exploit the shirt sales and marketing to gain most if not all of the payment for his purchase back; line up a four way competition with LA Galaxy and some Mexican teams and exploit the US and Mexican influence, sell stuff, get new fans, sell the TV rights to those games, look for additional US Sponsors.
Mike McLean
8   Posted 31/07/2010 at 23:35:18

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Donavan. But Moyes seemed fairly definite that it wasn't going to happen.
Chad Schofield
9   Posted 31/07/2010 at 23:18:23

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I'd take Donovan too, if it was simply a toss up.
Gerry Western
10   Posted 31/07/2010 at 23:28:43

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On leaving Carrow Road today I have to say I share your concern. Hibbert was pulled all over the place. Yobo looked out of sorts and with question marks being raised as to the fitness of Jagielka there is without doubt the possibility that progress this year may well be undermined yet again by failures at the back. I've never been entirely convinced by Distin either. His best days are well behind him.

My vote would go to strengthening the defence. Hetinga isn't the answer and can only be seen as a stop gap. I'm a huge fan of Donovan and it would be wonderful to have him back. But for me solidity at the back must be the ultimate priority.
David Hallwood
11   Posted 01/08/2010 at 00:20:24

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Buy Donovan and get Lescott on a loan deal-Only kidding
Roberto Birquet
12   Posted 01/08/2010 at 00:31:35

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I agree we need another defender at least as back up. Particularly at LB. As for CB, Duffy should take it easy for another couple months.

I think we are light in midfield too, out wide at least. And first thing's first. We know we have no money. Wheel and deal is the way it has been at Everton since I can remember.

And defenders we have. Albeit we need back up of an extra one or two to replace say Yobo, maybe Hibbert. But first choice, we are fine. Out wide, I'm concerned.

Moyes seemed to rule out Donovan today, citing the cost.

As I've said before, I'd love Pienaar to stay. But, I'll be bloody cheesed off with Moyes if we keep Pienaar without a new 4-year deal. It would be like paying £12 million for a loan player.

How does that make any sense?

So money: Sell Pienaar for £12 million; £9 million for Donovan, the rest for a back up LB. Sell Yobo, and if necessary Hibbert, for a CB. Although I was fairly impressed with Hibbert at CB last year.

I'd say we'd still be a winger light, but that is it. And we simply must not allow Pienaar to run down his contract. I don't care how good he is.

I don?t believe Moyes will ever want to choose Jags and Heitinga as first choice pairing if we loose Distin to injury Yobo will cover.
What does that sentence mean, btw?
Phil Bellis
13   Posted 01/08/2010 at 01:22:16

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Mike...agree with every word -
"we have a squad of players which every other Top 8 manager would dream of and we are about to play the most fantastic ? Barcelona-esque? type of football the Premiership has ever seen"
Bring `em on - let's twat `em
Rory Slingo
14   Posted 01/08/2010 at 02:06:49

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I'd take Donovan everytime. Scoring goals wins you games so the more attacking options the better. A leaky defense isn't a problem as long as you can score one more than the opposition. We've come a long way from seasons where we have to keep clean sheets the whole game to try and nick one goal at the death.
James Stewart
15   Posted 01/08/2010 at 07:17:57

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Don't agree with that at all. Distin is just as much of a liability than Yobo if not more so. And don't get me started on how many goals conceded were directly from Neville's Errors and lack of positioning. I would play Yobo over Distin or Neville any day.
Colin Potter
16   Posted 01/08/2010 at 08:32:56

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Gavin No6#
You are so right, but unfortunately this board we have, especially Kenwright, haven't got the sense they were born with !!!
Peter McCreith
17   Posted 01/08/2010 at 09:39:21

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cover for left back at the momment is hibbo as hes bben having a go pre season. as for donovan hes world class linked to city and ac milan has come out and said come and take me home if we cant stub up 8 to 10 mill for him then DM wont be a happy man and the players and fans will both not be happy do the right thing bring the lad to where he loves and is loved.
Al Reddish
18   Posted 01/08/2010 at 10:13:27

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I believe Neville was a left back for Man Utd and that Distain has also played there for clubs in the past when called upon to do so. One thing that puzzles me though is "Heitinga can only be seen as a stop gap" , I think I must have misread something somewhere. I think Jags and Johnny at the back would be solid as a rock.
David Hallwood
19   Posted 01/08/2010 at 10:51:43

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The comments from DM about Donovan are depressing. Notwithstanding that I agree that we shouldn't do a Leeds or get a pair of Yankee crooks to back us with a dodgy ponsy scheme, and of course money isn't easy available from the banks as it was 2-3 years ago

But surely the Donovan transfer would be a case of speculate to accumulate, in that it's not a hopeful punt on an unknown quantity, if the club played it right (yeah alright I know) they could recoup at least some of the fee through merchandise, and of course it would finally end the right midfield
problem that we've had since Kanchelsis left.

IMHO Donovan would be a step up as he's a goal scorong midfielder, and would also post a notice of intent on the Prem's door
Mike McLean
20   Posted 01/08/2010 at 11:11:26

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Heitinga = stop gap?

Okey dokey. Nurse, what time do the visitors come?
Liu Weixian
21   Posted 01/08/2010 at 11:32:50

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Just get Donovan. With his pace, he's exactly what we need on the right flank. And let's not forget about the massive American market. With Tim Howard and Landon Donovan playing for us, we would definitely sell a lot of merchandise.

A capable back-up defender is definitely welcome of course, but right now we really need our attack to come from both flanks.
Matthew Lovekin
22   Posted 01/08/2010 at 11:56:07

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Donovan every day of the week.
Anthony McNicholas
23   Posted 01/08/2010 at 12:23:52

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Gotta agree with Al....Jags and Johnny would be solid at the with the previous comments....donovan would be a show buy....ok we get him for 10mil and we get some positive shirt sales and "possible" sponsers from the us of a.....that makes it a loss to me !!.....or we get cover at LB and CB due to our lack of and liabilities i.e Baines and Yobo.....would be easily done with money from tv revenue during last month of transfer window....solid defence makes for free flowing midfield makes for chances up front....European football again for 11/12 looked good for first 3 games of loan....seemed a bit lightweight after that...hence the bench......just a thought.
Colin Taylor
24   Posted 01/08/2010 at 12:51:31

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Come in, no 9, Gerry. Heitinga a stop gap? Are you trying to wind everyone up?
Iain Love
25   Posted 01/08/2010 at 12:59:26

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Nedum Onuha [ forgive spelling ] can play centre or full back , appears surplus to requirements at Citeh wouldn't cost much , possibily even a loan deal, is young and is decent, Salcido has been touted at £2mill and he's a cracking player. Cover for Baines is Distin or Bily [ not great i know but cover not 1st choice ]
Donovan every time , he brings balance to the side and doubles our attacking options, by that i mean he provides a threat on the right & pace.
Chris Butler
26   Posted 01/08/2010 at 13:52:10

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This is stupid and unfortunately why we'll probably end up not finishing 4th. We need an attacking central midfielder, a cover for Baines and a right winger. Until we get those players I'm happy to bet we will not finish higher than 8th this year. Osman isn't fast enough or strong enough to play in either central midfield or on the wings. Arteta hasn't got a lot of pace anymore so therfore he cannot peform on either the wings or an attacking central midfielder. I personally think that we still need a better striker. Beckford has no premier league experience, Yakubu isn't good enough. Unfortunately as ever the difficulty with Everton we will have to sell players to buy, bar a miracle.
Max Main
27   Posted 01/08/2010 at 14:52:34

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Interesting article, Mike. In my head I've been penning a similar article for a while, but never bothered to actually write it out.

As I've said elsewhere on here, I am excited about the forthcoming season. I think we have two decent keepers, a very strong midfield group to pick from (standard disclaimer: as long as we keep Arteta and Pienaar), and decent options up front. But it's the defence which has me worried...

Baines - No major issues with Baines, though I think he stands off wingers too much and let's them get their crosses in. Ever noticed how he does the whole "look ref my hands are behind my back" thing that has become a bit of a fad? Just tackle the bloke, Leighton. Anyway, that's not the point. We really do need cover for Baines, if he gets injured our left side could be a disaster.

Hibbert/Coleman/Neville - between them can do a job at right back, so no real concerns there.

Yobo - I have to say I agree fully about Yobo. He's like the outfield equivalent of David James. He'll be brilliant throughout the game, but then there's that moment, that moment we know oh so well. Was watching the Premiership Years the other day when we lost at home to Liverpool last season. You could almost hear the collective "oh Joseph..." as Yobo sliced a clearance for their second. Anyway, I don't mind Yobo as cover but he shouldn't be a regular.

Jags - no worries with Jags, one of the best CBs in the league in my opinion.

Heitinga - I am not a big Heitinga fan. I thought he had a poor world cup. He undoubtedly has talent as a footballer, but I think his whole "can play anywhere" attitude has harmed him. Remember that Robinho goal agains the Netherlands. Heitinga inexplicably decided to come out of the back line and cover the man in the "hole". Brazil played the simplest of passes and Robinho tucked it away unchallenged. And it's those small mistakes which cost goals/games, and I those small mistakes that I believe he wouldn't have made if he'd been playing CB his whole career. But that's just my opinion.

Sorry, I never intended this post to go on this long, getting a bit carried away.

Distin - I also don't rate Distin too highly. Similar to Yobo I think he'd provide excellent cover if we had to use him for a few games here and there, but in my mind he is not a good enough defender to be playing regularly in a Champions League side, and that is what we are hoping to be.

And Duffy I have seen very little of.

I would love to have Donovan at Everton, as we've all seen what he can do for us. But personally I would be more inclined to sign a CB of real quality.
Steve Pugh
28   Posted 01/08/2010 at 15:53:41

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No cover for Baines? Neville has played LB for Man Utd and England, not ideal for many but we are talking about cover, not as a replacement. Bainseys replacement is Luke Garbutt, so no we don't need a LB.

Distin and Yobo make mistakes, errm, so do all footballers, personally I like Jonny and Jags in the middle of defence and the other two are fine for cover, so no we don't need a central defender.

Attacking midfielder, I like this one why do we need another attacking midfielder? We have Piennar, Bily, Ossie, Rodwell (more attacking this season according to DM), Gueye, and Cahill, enough is enough.

Donovan, quick, good passer, good finisher, marketable, wants to be at the club, if we do a deal for anyone it has to be him, if we can't, I hope Vic keeps improving!!
Chris Butler
29   Posted 01/08/2010 at 16:42:29

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Neville cannot be trusted at left back. Pienaar is our only decent left winger so I doubt he will me moved. Cahill is a striker. Rodwell is a DM. Osman hasn't got the pace or strength to cause problems and Billy likes to play in Cahills role.
Trevor Lynes
30   Posted 01/08/2010 at 17:15:50

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If Gosling had not been mistakenly let go for free...we may well have got the money together for Donovan by selling the Yak !!
Heads should be rolling at the total ineptitude shown by how that mistake occurred....I do not buy in to the continual acceptance of the having no money line...other clubs are active outside the top eight so why are we just taking freebies and loans ??
Jay Harris
31   Posted 01/08/2010 at 17:26:12

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I have been saying for quite a while that our achilles heel is the CB position.

We simply do not keep enough clean sheets especially against poor opposition.

Although Jags is our best CB he has a tendency to hoof the ball too often and doesnt score many from set pieces which most winning sides do (Terry, Vidic etc.).

Distin and Yobo lose concentration too easily and Heitiga is not that good in the air.

If we dont or cant get a quality CB in my solution would be to play 2 defensive mids i.e. Neville/Rodwell or Felli/Rodwell with Coleman and Baines as wing backs.

Although we are enjoying it our also think our change of culture in becoming more attack minded is not helping.

But for me its a no brainer a high quality CB is essential if we are to win things.
Matt Compton
32   Posted 01/08/2010 at 19:05:33

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Donovan all the way. For me, he'd complete the midfield for us. We'd have good options across the midfield 5.

At centre back we have Distin, Yobo, Jagielka, and Heitinga with a couple of youngsters waiting in the wings in Mustafi and Duffy.

When Fellaini was playing and covering our defence I don't remember many aerial balls bypassing him and therefore for me, the pairing should be Heitinga and Jagielka. Although in fairness, Distin has surprised me with his quality.
Ian Kearney
33   Posted 01/08/2010 at 21:10:03

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Agreed Matt, Fellaini won every single opposition goal kick when in that position.

Heintinga was easily our best CB last season and Jags was easily our best CB the year before, so I dont see a problem with them two. Jonny is also the only one of our 4 CB's who looks to pass to a midfielder rather that a striker.
Brian Garside
34   Posted 01/08/2010 at 22:33:26

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If everybody is so hooked on getting LD, how about some of the boys reducing their salery, DM included,to help finance the move.

Just a thought!
Michael Brien
35   Posted 02/08/2010 at 07:35:23

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In signing Donovan we wouldn't be getting the best attcking midfielder/striker in Europe or the World - but we would be signing a player who we know fits in to our team and our style of play. Robinho is without doubt world class - but he has done well at Man City.
Donovan may not be amongst the "top 10" in his position - but he is clearly an international class player. He certainly looked at home in the World Cup.
Not only would be bringing in a fine player - and one that in my opinion has yet to reach his peak - it would be a great boost to morale. And his age ? Well I recall how that factor seemed to put us off signing Brian McBride on a permanent deal in 2003. He certainly showed he was capable of playing in the Premier League - indeed he played a large part in keeping Fulham in the top flight.
Signing Landon Donovan would give us all a great lift - it would be like it was when we signed Duncan McKenzie,Peter Beardsley and Duncan Ferguson (from Newcastle) - In fact I seem to recall when we signed Beardsley we had lost out to Liverpool in the race to sign Dean Saunders. But when we signed Peter Beardsley who really cared about missing out on Dean Saunders!!!
We should "move heaven and earth" to get Donovan to come to Goodison.
Jason Lam
36   Posted 02/08/2010 at 08:00:14

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Donovan, and I used to hate him.
Stewart Littler
37   Posted 02/08/2010 at 11:23:03

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Still chuckling about the person who considers a World Cup finalist to be a 'stop-gap'.

Donovan all the way, and I have a feeling it might just happen.
David Price
38   Posted 02/08/2010 at 23:07:27

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Donavon, no doubt. Think the Yak will go to raise the cash. Jags and Johnny at the centre.Fellaini in front of them playing simple effective ball to Arteta and the rest.
Ben Jones
39   Posted 03/08/2010 at 10:17:55

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I'd only sell Yobo for a younger replacement to take over Distin afterwards. Yobo has his mistakes yes, but he has fantastic attributes for a defender.

I'd choose Donovan definitely. We can surely afford a cheap left back or a loan signing or something.
Laurie Hartley
40   Posted 03/08/2010 at 11:19:18

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I like the Yak - don't sell him feed him.
I wouldn't sell Yobo either - has pace and doesn't get injured much.
Left back is were we are light on for cover - offshore loan deal.
Sell the farm for Donovan - with him on the right, Piennar on the left and all that talent in the middle of the park we will run riot this year.

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