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I know what we didn't do last summer

By Nelaj Behajiha :  15/11/2010 :  Comments (27) :
After yet another embarrassing defeat where the same old problems have arisen, I feel compelled to offer my opinion where our problems lie.

Over last season, I noticed that our central midfield was far too defensive and I believe that many of our draws could have been turned into wins. Yesterday, as with nearly every other game this season, we had an awful central midfield. During many games this season we?ve had 3 defensive midfielders on the pitch. I do not see the point in having Rodwell and Fellaini on the same pitch at any one time.

But the most disappointing player this season has been Arteta. I was abused and ridiculed for suggesting we should have sold him in the summer, but now more and more fans agree with me. He doesn?t seem to have a role in the team, and doesn?t really do anything in central midfield other than sideways passes and pathetic set-pieces. It was my opinion we should have sold him to fund the purchase of another player. I will not suggest who we should've signed I?ll leave that up to you, and I don?t know what fee we would've got for him.

I also suggested to my mates that Pienaar should have been sold as I knew that it was unlikely he would sign a new contract. Again, I won?t suggest who we should have brought in to replace him.

Like many Blues, I?ve been consistently disappointed with Saha since his arrival at Everton as I don?t believe he really cares any more whether he plays or not. I don?t know who we could've replaced him with but Grafite from Wolfsburg would have been my choice.

My last change I would have made is regarding a well known unimpressive Russian; I can?t think of one game that I?ve watched him playing and said he had a good game. I know I?ll get in it the neck from many posters but I was a strong admirer of Van der Vaart before he went to Spurs. I believe he should have been a priority signing for Everton ? he only cost £8 million and his performances this season for Spurs have been phenomenal.

All-in-all, whatever you opinion on who we should have brought in and who we have sold, nobody can argue that our lack of transfer activity in the transfer window has not affected our results this season. In my eyes, our team is not good enough or consistent enough to get into Europe, but I can?t help thinking it could have been different if we?d perhaps changed things in the summer.

Reader Comments

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John Daley
1   Posted 15/11/2010 at 20:39:02

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I couldn't believe it when Moyes claimed to have turned down an £8m offer for Saha at the start of last season. I would've snapped their hand off. For a club backed into a financial corner and unable to generate sufficient transfer funds, surely that sort of fee for an ageing, inconsistent and injury prone player on the wane would have made great business sense. Then again, we are talking about Everton here.
David Thomas
2   Posted 15/11/2010 at 20:36:28

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I agree with you that Arteta has been poor this season by his own high standards. As you say, he seems to continually pass the ball sideways and is reluctant to move the ball forwards. He also seems to drop deeper and deeper each game to the point against Bolton were to me it looked like he was playing in a back three with Distin and Jagielka. I have no idea if this is the way he has been asked to play by the manager or whether he is just going through a bad patch, but, whatever it is, it needs to be sorted quick if the team is to prosper. Unlike yourself, though, I certainly would not want the club to sell him.

With regards Van de Vaart, I highly doubt we could afford his wages and I highly doubt he would join a team that was not playing champions league football.
Peter Warren
3   Posted 15/11/2010 at 20:46:45

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Unsure why you thought you'd get it in the neck for saying we should have signed Van der Varrt, he's a class act. Problem is that we are not a Man City who can blow money on players and there is no chance of us signing the likes of him at present. Spurs were a Champions League club based in London with a lot of assets who can afford his wages.

Whilst Arteta is frustrating the life out of me right now, I still believe his class will shine through and I'm glad we kept him. Fellaini I think is looking amazing despite being a tit and getting himself sent off.

Selling Pienaar to me would have made sense, but if Van de Varrt went for only £8m to a Champions League side, that says we wouldn't have got much for him.

We can all say, we'd rather have sold x and got y (I thought selling Jags for £14million to Arsenal was perhaps worth a shout) and didn't agree with loaning Yobo out.

However, to me, same old problems with Moyes is his caution. I for one would be made up if he threw caution to the wind once in a while, I was made up him we ended up with Cahill, Yak, Saha and Beckford on Sunday. Why not start all those players against teams like Wolves, Newcastle, Stoke, Bolton etc when playing them at home. It would be better to win 2 and lose 2 than the results we've had
Rob Hollis
4   Posted 15/11/2010 at 20:52:52

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I would play Arteta on the right, he was really good there. Suspect we made him some promises in order that he would sign.

I would never sell Pienaar. Would get rid of Yak and Saha and trade them in for one decent forward to play with Beckford, a risk I would take. A midfield of Pienaar, Rodwell, Fellaini, Arteta and Cahill would be nicely balanced. Osman and Bily would be my midfield subs. I think a forward who is hard to mark and worries the opposition is our main problem, along with a dull manager who will not take a risk.
Marc Williams
5   Posted 15/11/2010 at 20:48:39

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Despite all the 'Paper Talk' about Pienaar & Arteta last summer, I don't recall any offers for them! Who would you have sold them too & for how much?

Pienaar looks quite happy to run down his contract & pick up a hefty signing-on fee as a free agent. Meanwhile, Arteta allegedly wanted a move to Spain BUT only small teams expressed any interest, and no offers were forthcoming, let alone at a level EFC would consider.

As to Saha, if that £8 mil offer from Turkey was genuine last January, then it was criminal to turn that down.
Erik Dols
6   Posted 15/11/2010 at 21:21:31

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If the Dutch sites are correct, Van der Vaart earns around £90k a week. Don't think getting him was an option.
Michael Kenrick
7   Posted 15/11/2010 at 22:48:44

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All just a bit FM... or is that CM? Or Even Fifa Soccer 11... anyway, you know what I'm trying to say.

Contending that we should've signed Van der Vaart is all a bit facile, not to say wise after the event, don't you think? He signed for Spurs... We were never so much as linked with him, were we?

Even suggesting others for future transfers seems facile to me. You don't think David Moyes and his staff at EFC have been doing their research, tracking players on whatever databases they have? I feel safe in assuring you that the very last place they are going to be looking for guidance and inspiration as teh January transfer window approaches is a fan website on t'interweb.

As an aside, weren't Everton given special access to the player database established by one of these games a few years back? The Collyer brothers, was it not? Evertonians... the express purpose being to give Everton a leg up when it comes to identifying and bringing in sharp upcoming talent the world over?

The likes of Cory Arnout, Anton Peterlin perhaps? Er... no. They disappeared after a year but we do still have Moses Barnett (Arsenal) and Luke Garbutt (Leeds) and Femi Orenuga (Southend) waiting in the wings. Given our very distinct lack of cash, it is more likely that fresh blood will be from such sources rather than big dollar fees paid for established players.

Although the record on bringing them in young and getting them into the first team has a pretty low success rate. I think Seamus is our only recent success so far...

But I know that sadly this will do nothing to curb yet another feeding frenzy of transfer trashtalk when we are linked with half of the known population of professional footballers... and then some. Role on January!
Peter Laing
8   Posted 16/11/2010 at 01:48:02

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I can understand your point Michael regarding the Van der Vaart suggestion and accept that if Erik is correct in his assertion that the player is earning £90k per week and would therefore be outside the glass ceiling of our pay structure. However, I can't help but feeling barring the issue of breaking the pay structure that may exist at Everton (Arteta top earner on £75k?), surely it would be better paying £90k a week to a proven, fit and match hungry goal scorer than the shot-shy, injury prone, over the hill Yakubu and Saha who must be earning close to a combined £100k per week?

Our forward line these days reminds me of when we had both Duncan Ferguson and Kevin Campbell on the books, seeing out long contracts and providing very little in return in terms of goal contributions. This may be summed up by the fact that Tim Cahill remains out top goal scorer and main offensive threat.

Simon Watts
9   Posted 16/11/2010 at 02:21:18

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I think Pienaar should have gone. He is hard working but a player like him can hardly score. It's frustrating. He wants a lot of money, and if you actually check his stats they are quite poor compared to Arteta. Wish him luck but he wants more money and his heart is not in the cause.
Alex Whitney
10   Posted 16/11/2010 at 03:02:16

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but couldn't we have gotten Moutinho? He went for what £9M?
Albert Perkins
11   Posted 16/11/2010 at 05:50:14

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I want to give Arteta a break. I think he has been carrying an injury for some time. I think he is a true blue right now and is giving his all. Can't wait till he gets back to fitness.

As to buying players. Everton are not as attractive as the London clubs. Bright lights, big city. Gone are the days when we buy the pick of the crop. So we have to maximize what we have.

I agree that Moyes is playing defensive, but that's in part because our regular defensive set up has been flaky and he has decided to play the midfield further back to cover them.

Is attack the best defense? Even when Moyes plays 3 strikers he is not getting the required goals. Pity we didn't score a couple late on against Arsenal. That would have given him some confidence to go forward.
But for a great goalkeeping display, it might have paid off and we could be in a different state of mind.

It is a game of inches. So close and yet so far.
Martin Faulkner
12   Posted 16/11/2010 at 09:41:23

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Nelaj, They say Hindsight is a bitch for a reason, easy to look back and say our midfield was too defensive and that many of our draws could've been turned into wins, when in fact we have absolutely no idea what any particular outcome would have been given different personnel on the pitch at any given time.

Would we have played Villa off the park and actually scored as well? Would johnny not have gifted Wolves a point? Would Howard not have gifted away how many points?

In regards to transfers, it's easy to speculate, but the fact of the matter is R van der Vaart only signed for Spurs on deadline day after they found out they had qualified for the Champions League group stages and could afford his wages. Wolsburg don't need to sell Grafite and would/will command a decent fee for him, more than we can afford, especially when they sell Dzeko for a kings ransom.

As far as selling players goes, it only makes sense if we hold the upper hand, see West Ham re: Yak tried to play hard ball and they reduced it to £2M apparently. I think Moyes would've cashed in on

Pienaar had a decent offer been forthcoming; however, it obviously wasn't. He's always looked like walking on a free and my bet is he'll move abroad again, probably to a club of a similar stature to our own for similar money we were offering but a nice fat signing-on fee.

Selling Mikky would've been mad, although I do think he's been well below par and Moyes needs to take free kick/corner duties off him and give him a rest when Fellaini and Rodwell are back and fit.

Agree with the Billy comments though, wrong player at the wrong time but he has got talent, probably better suited to Spanish/French league then Prem. I do think we're gonna take a massive loss on him though. Hopefully Saha might bang a few in soon and we can increase any potential fee for him in Jan.

I do think that the last few seasons hasn't seen Moyes's best transfer activity but the board have to take a lot of blame with the pathetic way we do transfers and the timing of them.

David Thomas
13   Posted 16/11/2010 at 09:57:46

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Do you think Van De Vaart would have chosen to come to a club not in the Champions League when there is a club in the Champions League offering him similar money?
Amit Vithlani
14   Posted 16/11/2010 at 10:12:32

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Who are these "many fans" who want Arteta sold? Let's have a TW poll and see, shall we? Until then, I would avoid stupid generalisations.

What you might find is that an altogether different poll, asking if Arteta should be dropped, may show fans wanting him on the bench, until he recovers his form.

There is no question on his day he is a class act. That he has not shown his class this season is a different matter; a stint on the bench may motivate him to improve (or allow him to recover from an injury, if that is the problem).

As for Saha, castigating the club for press rumours is daft. I don't recall the club coming out and saying we received an offer of xyz for Saha and we said no, like they did for the Arsenal bid for Jags.
Martin Faulkner
15   Posted 16/11/2010 at 10:45:23

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Everton Rejected Besiktas Bid For Louis Saha
According to Everton?s official website, Everton confirmed that they had received a bid from Besiktas for Louis Saha. However the club rejected the bid that was around £8million. Boss David Moyes said,

?Louis is someone we had a big bid for ? But he didn?t want to go and we didn?t want to sell ? It?s great news Louis wants to stay.?

Martin Faulkner
16   Posted 16/11/2010 at 10:48:28

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Colin Prendergast
17   Posted 16/11/2010 at 10:48:18

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Van der Vaart would never have come near us and would probably have mocked the thought of it if approached. As well as the £90k/week and Champions League, the London factor would also have been significant. He would only have gone to one of last season's top 4 ? City at a push.

Arteta is struggling, no doubt, but a lot of people on here were slating Moyes for not playing him in the centre before he did and now moving him wide or selling him is the answer?! His delivery is poor at the moment and he's not one for skipping past a man so how would moving him wide help?

He's also one of the few top class players we have, and bringing up his £75k a week every time he has a bad game is just daft. People complain when we won't pay it to attract any mercenary and then do the same when we pay it to keep our best player who has stayed loyal. If he'd asked to go he'd be getting hammered on here. Take the set pieces off him and push him further up the pitch, if he still struggles, bench him and see how he responds.

Tony J Williams
18   Posted 16/11/2010 at 10:49:27

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How was the defeat embarrassing? I would say the 6-1 last year was, not a 2-1 defeat, one of which we had three good chances in the last 5 minutes to equalise.

We were 4-3-3, defensive sounding to me. As said so many times, we are getting the ball near the goal and then getting nose bleeds, that is not defensive, that is our forward players being crap this season.
Kunal Desai
19   Posted 16/11/2010 at 17:27:40

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Forget VdV ? those kind of players are in a different league of their own and Everton Football Club are no longer associated with players of that pedigree.

Jermaine Beckford is just the start of a new revolution at EFC and it'll be players of his standard we will be having to look forward to in years to come.

David Price
20   Posted 16/11/2010 at 20:06:18

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One problem this season: Bad finishing. Only in the Blackburn game can I think of not creating a decent chance and missing it. Even in the next worst game we've played against Newcastle, Yakubu hit the post and Fellaini put over the bar from two yards in the last 5 minutes. We are not talking half-chances that a Drogba or Tevez would bag, bloody simple chances that our own players should have done better.

Van der Vaart, the new golden balls, don't forget his last two goals he's scored have been handball to control it first and got away with it. He's Dutch, watch him implode like they all do.

Arteta will be fine, it's a bad spell that's all, stop fucking panicking and getting ready to sell him. We've got a good side, top 6 to play for, just get behind them.

Aiden Jones
21   Posted 16/11/2010 at 20:33:35

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"He's Dutch, watch him implode, like they all do" ? Like Bergkamp, Van der Sar, Overmars & Van Persie ?? They are not all like Van der Meyde or the legendary Ray Atteveld.
John Daley
22   Posted 17/11/2010 at 01:06:30

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Bit harsh to compare Ray Atteveld to Andy Van der Meyde. Atteveld achieved more in his Everton career than VDM simply by stripping off and rocking around the pitch in a pair of skimpy briefs. I'm sure Shandy stumbled around in his Y-fronts quite often, but usually on his own, at home, clutching a half-empty bottle of bourbon. Just before barfing in the sink.
Amit Vithlani
23   Posted 17/11/2010 at 10:20:47

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Martin, I stand corrected!
Andy Morden
24   Posted 17/11/2010 at 20:05:57

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John Daley ?- pure quality comedy gold! And probably worryingly accurate too...
Ernie Baywood
25   Posted 18/11/2010 at 01:39:34

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"However, I can't help but feeling barring the issue of breaking the pay structure that may exist at Everton (Arteta top earner on £75k?), surely it would be better paying £90k a week to a proven, fit and match hungry goal scorer than the shot-shy, injury prone, over the hill Yakubu and Saha who must be earning close to a combined £100k per week?"

That's fine but VdV is made of glass so kind of changes the argument. If he had signed for us for £90k a week and then his knees had given up we'd slate the club. Hindsight after only 12 games is a little premature.
Mike Elbey
26   Posted 18/11/2010 at 10:59:55

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We just need to be more positive. There are so many games, too many to mention, games that we should be looking to win but we don't because we are just too cautious for 75% of the game.

I will mention one game as I think it perfectly sums up our approach to games that we should just go out and win, not worry too much about the opposition, just let the football take care of itself so to speak. The game is Wolves away last year, we ended with a 0-0 draw.

Although we played ok in the first half and had a couple of decent efforts / chances, the second half just drifted. This was a game that we needed to win to have a chance of qualifying for Europe and yet it wasn't until the last 10 minutes of the game that we upped the pace and tempo and really went for it. Had the game gone on another 5-10 minutes we would have scored. Or to put it another way, had we upped the tempo earlier we would have won.

I have said it in other posts, it's no coincidence we score so many late goals as we only really commit men into the box in the last 10 minutes of games and then only if we are not winning.

We can criticise the final ball as much as we want but if there is only one attacker and 4 defenders in the box it has to be some ball to meet the striker. Look at how many men Man U get into the area and tell me making a good final pass isn't a lot easier for their midfielders.

Our solution to our goalscoring problem is simple - get more men in attacking positions and shoot more. Unfortunately Moyes is too negative to allow this in our game unless it's a final gamble for points...

Anthony Millington
27   Posted 19/11/2010 at 14:01:13

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There is no way we could have got Van der Vaart, we could not afford his wages and do you really think he would join Everton who aren't even in Europe, nevermind the Champions League?

I agree though that Saha is a waste of space and we should have sold him while we had the chance to get some money for him and could have replaced him with a younger and less injury prone striker. Bilyaletdinov is also a very poor signing.

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