Tag Archives: Transfer

Everton: Howzit Steven Pienaar

Steven Pienaar Everton Football Soccer English Premier League Man United

S. Pienaar with his entry for #sloganonundershirtoftheyear

Everton are in the midst of their customary strong end of season finish that has seen them unbeaten in 6 league games and leading the league in key indicators such as possession, goals scored and chance creation. David Moyes’ merry men have found the back of the net 4 times in each of their last three outings; a first for the club. They have now conceded just the 15 times in the last 16 fixtures since the January window was jammed closed, with the only real blemish being in the midst of that comeback at Old Trafford. While before Christmas goals were the major struggle on Merseyside, the arrival of Jelavic, Pienaar and Gibson has produced something of a transformation for their attacking prowess. The most overwhelming proof: 15 goals in 5 exceeds the 13 from the previous 17 league encounters.

Of the trio, Pienaar and Gibson are proven Premier League performers, but the impact of Jelavic has been particularly impressive. Niki J, as he’s affectionately known, would be a veritable hype machine if it wasn’t for one Cisse in Newcastle – and his contribution should not be understated. The front man has been the definition of clinical, taking previously wasted half chances with aplomb. His report card reads 7 in 6 at the minute.

Pienaar has been as influential, and appears motivated in the blue shirt and tireless in his endeavours – two qualities sorely lacking at his unhappy, albeit fleeting, time in London. Standout efforts against Chelsea and United are particularly striking. Specifically, Pienaar’s distribution has been of the highest quality, not afraid to hold possession in more thought out and deliberate build ups. Pienaar is ahead of club averages in several leading barometers: he passes at 82% compared to the team average of 76%. Within this, his final third passing rate is 75%, a figure impressively high, particularly compared to the team’s 66% return. Just to stress this impressive return, across the league, attack minded midfielders typically score below the broader team average, as they are charged with the responsibility for defence splitting passes with a larger degree of difficulty and smaller margin of error.

Further, the South African provides a goal every 138 minutes compared to the next best in FFTD’s much loved Fellaini, who has an assist every 837 minutes and next in line right back Hibbert who provides at just above Marouane’s rate. Incidentally, since returning to Goodison, this is the highest rate of any player in the league. If that isn’t proof of the creativity and imagination of Everton’s best midfielder going forward, then we’ll bring his general chance creation figures for your perusal. Despite appearing only 11 times since January, he is already Everton’s 2nd most proficient manufacturer of goal scoring opportunities in absolute terms. He provides a chance every 28 minutes – well ahead of Leighton Baines at 44 minutes. (It’s worth noting that these figures could be skewed against Pienaar, as Baines takes set pieces to boost his output).

David Moyes is widely regarded for his shrewd squad management, continually scouring the bottom of Europe’s proverbial footballing pool for forgotten talent or untapped potential. But, this year, surely, Moyes should be admonished. The Toffees have moved sideways, trending to the downside, and the sale of Pienaar was an astoundingly poor piece of business. Often teams of lesser financial prowess rest on their povert-status as an excuse for mediocrity and this tag seems to fit Everton a little too snugly. The excuse of finishing above their red rivals is simply mere puff.

Instead of investing in lengthy surnames from Italy and the unproven youth of Greece, two signings that few would have thought could propel Everton from mid to top table, Moyes could have solidified his squad with Pienaar’s autograph. Jelavic is a genuine success even after just half a season and Everton’s future looks rosy with these two in tandem (look no further than their showing at Old Trafford last month). Pienaar’s sale is now a sunk cost and should not be a consideration in wooing him back to the club on a permanent basis. Signing the South African would be an admission of erroneous judgement a year ago, but not signing him would be repeating a mistake hampering progress into the future.

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The Rumour Mill in Full Swing Again!

Just to make sure that footballfortheday isn’t totally overrun by that little thing happening in South Africa, we’re gonna stick to our guns and give you this week’s edition of Transfer Thursday. If you’ve been watching, we haven’t missed a column yet!

This week I didn’t even know where to start. Normally, it’s pretty easy to follow the latest and greatest wheelings and dealings across Europe. But this week it seems that every paper has their own little story. No one’s come out and grabbed the headlines just yet, and you just get the feeling that everything going down at the moment is pure garbage. Everyone’s just waiting for Mancini to make his move, or something like that…

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

According to the (sic) reputable source of news, the Daily Mirror (although it’s still better than that other paper – News of the World), the men at the Catalans are admitting to last season’s transfer errors. The swap deal with Internazionale (their real name is so much sexier) seems to have favoured the Italians, accentuated by the Champions League semi final between the clubs. Ibrahimovic seems to look like another failed signing in Dimitar Berbatov, and he sure reminds me of him. Over and again, the big Swede seems to miss golden opportunities and his lack of lethal finishing seems to have cost him his place for next season. Apparently, Barcelona are itching to broker an auction between Chelsea and Man City. It seems difficult to imagine, considering that both these clubs have outstanding forwards on their books. But when you’re talking about Man City, anything’s possible. If Chelsea really are in for Torres, then I doubt they’d be interested to get into a bidding war with the limitless financial backing that Man City seem to have at their disposal.

The Equation

Barcelona will be eager to “get rid” and start afresh, but really, this particular story seems a little stretched. < 50% on this one.

Mikel Arteta

Last week, we brought you news about Sir Alex and his search for a replacement for the red haired Paul Scholes. This week, we continue to spread the rumours with fresh links to a Spaniard, Mikel Arteta. Fresh from missing out on travelling to South Africa, Arteta apparently still sees it fit to demand more than the “measly” 45,000 pounds a week that he earns at Goodison. He’s spent the majority of the year on the sidelines and despite showing his class once again late in the campaign, may struggle to squeeze a lot more dosh out of the bargaining table. Nevertheless, Man United seem keen to snap up the wizard and he may still fit under their strict wages cap that is enforced. In another upside, Man City don’t seem interested in this particular deal (yet…), so at least there won’t be needless inflation of the signing fee.

The Equation

It’s always difficult to predict the wily Ferguson, but it does seem that he needs some fresh midfield talent, with many of his other supposed replacements seemingly not up to scratch. Arteta looks to have the goods. Everton will be desperate to keep their man, but this one could just come off. 75% chances here.

Charles N’Zogbia

Even though it’s always fun to follow the big money, it’s worth mentioning Birmingham, who after all are a top half club nowadays. Carson Yeung seems to have made available quite a pot of gold for McLeish, and it seems that he’s about to spend the lot. Apparently Ben Foster will be a direct replacement for the fantastic Joe Hart, but that’s old news already. Next up for the Blues is the crafty Wigan talent in N’Zogbia. N’Zogbia has been a crucial element in an otherwise poor Wigan side and a move to a bigger club could be on the cards. Wigan could easily be tempted to turn a nice little profit on this one. I wonder if he’ll be willing to move on already, however, having only just arrived at the Lactics.

The Equation

Passthesugar will slap a 50% label onto the trade.

Daniele De Rossi

Bloody hell, just piss off already mate. And to all you other clubs out there: he’s not gonna leave.. you get it? The notoriously stubborn and difficult to sign de Rossi has yet again popped up – this time Roma have rejected a 38 million pound bid for midfielder. Personally I’ve hardly seen him play, but by the reports of certain colleagues, and with a quick glance at Wikipedia, it seems that he fits the bill to be included on the Arab’s lengthy shopping list. If Manc really want a quality midfielder, maybe they should chase a player who can’t break it into the starting 11; think Diarra or Gago.

The Equation

This whole write up has stemmed from a publication known as La Stampa. With a quality name like that it’s gotta be 100% accurate.

Phil Bardsley

In what is set to be one of the biggest transfer moves of the summer, unwanted and left out Bardsley is set to snub Sunderland to join the Hawthorns and passthesugar’s beloved Baggies. West Brom have reportedly offered the princely sum of 1.2 million for the defender who will look to shore up their back four. He’s one of a group of players to be owned by glamour club Man United, but quickly be shipped off on loan deals all over the shop. Most recently, Bardsley got a bit of karma, after being second choice behind the on loanees Hutton and Mensah at Sunderland.

The Equation

Bardlsey will become one of the hottest properties in England this time next year, after helping West Brom to a miraculous top 6 finish. (think Michael Turner at Hull – just more) Crazier things have happened… well not really, but anyway here’s to dreaming. 80% it’ll come off

Just a footnote: In a revolutionary move, Tottenham and Chelsea showed off some of their finer “for sale/loan” talent yesterday with a training park showdown between the two clubs. Apparently they held a roll call for every manager in the land from 10th spot in the top flight and lower. I wonder what this will do for the players morale. Anyway, hopefully di Matteo was watching a bloke with the last name of Rose very closely.

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