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The Summer Decider

By Matthew Lovekin :  15/11/2009 :  Comments (33) :
My attention is already turning to Summer 2010. This is for a number of reasons. Firstly, can England really win the World Cup for the first and probably only time in my lifetime? 1966 and all that doesn’t appeal to me, I didn’t see it unfold as it happened and I want to see a World Cup win for myself. However, there are more pressing issues closer to home and I feel this summer is likely to determine the future of Everton Football Club more than any other year, past or future.

This season is almost virtually written off already. Too many serious injuries and the AFCON to deal with will mean we are unlikely to put out our best team until February or March with match fitness permitting. By then, European qualification is likely to be out of sight and although hopefully too good to be involved in a relegation battle, come March, we are also likely to be out of all the cup competitions due to lack of quality and options currently available to Moyes. This results in mid-table mediocrity — or obscurity, whichever way you want to look at it.

On a positive note, if all the players are fit at the start of the 2010-11 season, and if (it’s a big IF) we keep our best players in the summer, we do have a very good squad on paper who are capable of challenging for a top 4 position. Our starting XI could be: Howard, Neville, Baines, Jagielka, Distin, Pienaar, Arteta, Rodwell, Cahill, Bily, Saha. Honestly, that is an excellent team if everything goes to plan. With subs of Heitinga, Yobo, Fellaini, Osman, Baxter and Yakubu and with a manager who can generally get the best out of his players and get results (even if the quality of football doesn’t match) we are strong contenders for the top 4. We just need to get the injured personnel back, get this season out of the way, and therefore probably just be able to concentrate on the league next year, it could look promising.

The reasons why Summer 2010 is going to be important are not just the effect the result (either way) of DK has on the club (Moyes loses hope, assets sold to generate funds, fans boycotting, etc), but more importantly the changes to player personnel. A potentially promising 2010-11 season could hinge on who leaves in the summer.

Jo is already guaranteed to go (no big loss), Saha’s contract is up (the only true real quality striker we have), Vaughan & Anichebe are now both having make-or-break seasons and so far it doesn’t look good for their futures at Goodison, but the main two worries are Arteta and Rodwell.

Arteta is our one true real creative player at the club who was finally given his playmaker role in the middle before his injury. His quality is undoubted with Man City and even Liverpool allegedly looking at him before his injury.

Rodwell has already been the subject of a bid from Chelsea who need to buy in January in case they get their transfer embargo. If Rodwell doesn’t go in January, then Man Utd and Arsenal will probably make a move in the summer. How long can we hold onto our most saleable asset?

After the Lescott saga, we know player power is more important than the club’s wishes and the big clubs know Everton are a soft touch now. For the likes of Rodwell and/or Arteta to leave in the summer would be a disaster, the implications of which could be huge, sending out a further message to our fans and other clubs that Everton need to sell players to survive and are just a selling club with no ambition.

It is also going to have an effect on the playing side by losing arguably our two best players. By losing these two players in the summer, I can only see a downward spiral for our once great club. Modern day football is all about money; either you have it or you don’t... and Everton are going to be in the latter category and labelled a small club.

Hold on to these two players and the positive scenario is a real possibility. A strong starting XI and squad with just the league to concentrate on next season with a new stadium on the horizon and therefore possible outside investment and everything looks promising for the future.

Which way will it go? I’m praying that Jack says he wants to stay, for another season at least.

Reader Comments

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James Thomas
1   Posted 15/11/2009 at 15:40:55

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"After the Lescott saga, we know player power is more important than the club’s wishes and the big clubs know Everton are a soft touch now."

Matthew, I think that this is the key problem. It is also at odds to your statement that losing Arteta and Rodwell would be "sending out a further message to our fans and other clubs that Everton need to sell players to survive and are just a selling club with no ambition."

How can both these statements be true? Lescott and Rooney showed us that when a player truly wants to leave, the club in effect has to sell them. As you say, we could feasibly break into the top four again with them in the squad, but if they see greater opportunities elsewhere (both in terms of achievement on the pitch and higher wages) then there is little we can do to keep them.

We do not need to sell our best players in order to survive, but if they want to leave, and a suitable offer comes in, then what would you do? Force them to see out their contract? Look what forcing Lescott to play against Arsenal did.

Short of suddenly trebling their wages, we simply cannot offer them what offer clubs have. We are not in the Champions League. We do not have a sugar daddy willing to pay them £100k a week.

It is the nature of football today. Everyone has their price, be it Lescott and Barry going to Man City, or Kaka and Ronaldo to Madrid. Clubs try to hold out, but once the player is unsettled they have little choice but to sell them.

Also, like it or not, we are now labelled a small club by the "Sky Four" and City. We do not come anywhere close to having the financial muscle they enjoy and as such, if they are willing to pay enough money, they can take any one of our players.

We do have ambition but one must be realistic. I know that some people on this site see that word as a negative defeatist word and think that I’m somehow in league with the Evil Kenwright and cowardly Moyes by suggesting that we live within our means and have to contemplate offers of £20m+ for our players but it is the cold hard truth.

Money talks to players and clubs and the club can’t simply bury their heads (and all of the players’ heads) in the sand refusing to acknowledge this.

Russell Smith
2   Posted 15/11/2009 at 15:53:16

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Great article!!

Well balanced and such a relief from most of the negativity on this site.

I think we have a really good squad and a really exciting first eleven (when fit) Cant wait until February when we might get to see some top quality football at Goodison
Mike Oates
3   Posted 15/11/2009 at 15:48:06

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I totally agree Matthew and have been stating this issue in recent mails or articles . To keep our best players and maybe even the manager I believe we need to qualify for Europe be it CL (totally unrealistic from where we are today) or the Europa Cup (it will have to be either 6 or 7th place in the league). I dont believe we will win any Cup this season.

If we cant guarrantee European football for 2010 -11 then I seriously believe Arteta,Pinnear,Rodwell and Hettinga will go and possibly even Yakubu depending on his fitness. We will loose Pinnear due to the World Cup where I think he will become a major star and Rodwell will realise that he too has a huge future, domestically, and internationally and unfortunately he wont be a winner with Everton. Arteta will get homesick and Hettinga will also be wooed by the big games he wants post the World Cup big games.

The Jags, Baines, and Nevilles will stay because they have respect for the club and fans,and have limitations to their games which the Top 4 realise and they wont be persued.

I believed that Moyes’s gradual team improvement over the years would bring Top 4 success at some stage , but I dont believe that any more. Teams below the Top 4 need huge cash injections to generate large quality squads available from Day 1 of the season, ready to repeatedly compete twice a week- Spurs, Man City and Aston Villa have done it via billionaires, multimillionaires or just excellent levels of income - we cant compete and the players know it.
Dave Wilson
4   Posted 15/11/2009 at 16:39:45

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Bloody hell Mathew, I admire your optimism, but don't you think you're getting ahead of yourself mate? I’m still agonising over who we might get on the pitch at OT on Saturday and your already addressing 2011!!!
Peter Griffin
5   Posted 15/11/2009 at 18:59:00

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Pienaar still hasn’t signed a new contract and IMO will be one of the first to leave. Hopefully we can keep hold of him and tie him down to a new deal, but can’t see it.

In Spain they’re paying 25% tax and over here they’re paying 50%

It may be time for DM to start to build a new side next Summer. Players like Cahill, Saha, Distin, Neville etc are coming towards the end of their careers. Hopefully the manager plans better for the future than our board and chairman!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Karl Masters
6   Posted 15/11/2009 at 19:43:03

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Nicely written, Matthew, but really what is the point of worrying about all this now?

We have known since Rooney that all our players will go if the price is right. Only one who has left has been a loss and that was Lescott, but we got a barrowload of cash and so far he’s proved the old maxim that Moyes teams are greater than the parts on their own. Nobody who has left us in the last 15 years except Rooney has done anything of note and even he has not achieved half of what most people were predicting in 2004.

Arteta may be a key player for us, but he’s not even an international and is highly unlikely to be at the World Cup so the chances of a ’Big’ club wanting him are not as high as you think.

Rodwell is unproven thus far and nobody even knows his best position so again are you not better off waiting?

Pienaar is a worry purely because his contract only has 18 months to go. That may get sorted this season so again no point in us worrying yet.

I’d concentrate on the next game if I was you. If we can turn this season around (and none of the teams above us has looked that impressive yet this season and many are also now getting serious injury problems too), your worrying may prove unfounded.

And as for England.... I’m more concerned about where I’ll be holidaying next Summer than how that pack of gobshites get on trying to enhance their reputations and screw even more cash out of their Clubs.
Gareth Humphreys
7   Posted 15/11/2009 at 20:07:30

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(1) I’m not arsed about England winning the World Cup — I would rather Everton have a better goal difference. I simply can’t fathom how you can support two football teams.

(2) Jo going next season is a positive. The sooner the better.

(3) Got to say that I would still pick Yakubu over Saha when they are both fit any day of the week, although Louis does look absolute top drawer sometimes. I can’t agree that Saha is the only quality striker we have though.

(4) Never heard any news of a bid coming in for Rodwell although I did hear that Arsenal were interested at the start of the season — what was the bid and when did it happen?

Good article and I get where you are coming from — I just disagree on a few things.

Alasdair Mackay
8   Posted 15/11/2009 at 20:56:41

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Gareth

1) - I agree with you. Although that I do get into England during the big tournaments, as they are not annoying me by disrupting Everton’s season.
2) - I feel a bit sorry for Jo. He is being judged as an out and out striker and I see him more as a Sherringham/Bergkamp type player (although not as good - yet). I think there is some mileage in him.
3) Saha is world class. Yak is a good finisher, but lazy. I would sell Yak if someone came in with £15million+ for him. I think AJ was better.
4) I don’t know that anyone has bid for him yet, but Chelsea and Manure are definitely interested. I am not sure he will go just yet as he wants to be playing for the next three years.
James Stewart
9   Posted 15/11/2009 at 21:52:53

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Everton have more chance of winning the league than England winning the WC!

The sooner England are out the better as far as I am concerned. The day I support a team with the likes of Ashley Cole, Lescott, Gerrard etc will be the day hell freezes over!
Andy Crooks
10   Posted 16/11/2009 at 00:06:59

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Matthew, in the summer of 2010, Everton must make one major signing; it must be a two-footed winger with tricks and pace. It must be Niall McGinn of Celtic. Actually he must be signed in January. Ask Ciaran McGlone...
Peter Bradshaw
11   Posted 16/11/2009 at 00:31:14

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Personally, the one to watch is Pienaar, he has already rejected a contract offer in the summer and word around was that he is looking for $80k per week; Everton wont pay this. He will use the World Cup as a window for him and will be off.

Rodwell will go in the summer, the same type of structured deal that saw Rooney go to Man Utd. Me thinks it will be to Chelsea.

This will give us around $35 million to play with including the £4:50p that Billy Bullshit will put in to bring in new talent.

Also because of the delay in Jags coming back, Moyes will spend about $3m in January transfer window for Sanderos from the Arse. We are no longer big enough to keep these guys, so you play the hand you have and move on.

Myself, I look at the Man City page and look at the comments about Lescott... we might be able to buy him back for £5 million in 18 months.
Dennis Stevens
12   Posted 16/11/2009 at 00:31:03

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I do think that if Moyes can keep the majority of the current squad together and add just a couple of players reasonably early next summer, we could be instore for a cracking season 2010-11 — we better had too as we’re due to win the title again next season!
Eugene Ruane
13   Posted 16/11/2009 at 05:17:45

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Imagine a situation where Stevie Gee (lar) scores a goal and runs over to you (in the crowd), arms out ready for an embrace.

But instead of sending his way some of the most vile, spine-tingling invective ever uttered (like you should) you put your arms out and embrace him.

That is what England fans would do.

Consequently, England, Schmengland!
Gavin Ramejkis
14   Posted 16/11/2009 at 07:21:25

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1. Engerland aren’t even the best team in Europe; full of self-serving twats, love watching them fail abysmally and wait for the same old same old piss-poor excuses from the kiss-arsing media on how they were robbed — as comical as it comes.

2. The season was doomed with the injuries we went into it with, with too little, too late in the form of squad replacements/increases — the AFCON again not thrust on the club at the last second will deprive the thin squad of key players leaving a thin squad a joke.

3. A very big if and if the club has taught you anything it is that they can ONLY make money selling players — they can’t guarantee who will go but I’m convinced at least one will and my money is on Pienaar or Rodwell — a good World Cup and the club not able to meet his demands... or a club with cash comes and helps themselves respectively.

Jo: going back to City — no loss. Saha: quality player but five years too late in his life. Vaughan and Anichebe will disappear eventually, loan then sale or just sale. Arteta will go back to Spain, just when I dont know. Rodwell will be sold to balance books/pay for BK’s hairbrained schemes. Pienaar will have a blinder of a World Cup and go back to Europe.
Chris Fisher
15   Posted 16/11/2009 at 12:41:13

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Good article, I must just disagree with you on one thing though... Saha — The only true real quality striker we have?! Your forgetting Yakubu! The bloke scored 20+ goals for us and for a team as bad as Boro as well!!
Guy Hastings
16   Posted 16/11/2009 at 13:48:07

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Have to agree with Gavin about England. The only time I have any interest in them is if a Blue is turning out for them. Even then it’s a case of a) don’t get injured and b) don’t fuck up. To add to G’s list, I’m warming to Bily and would fear his post-World Cup departure perhaps more than Pienaar’s — if either happened, of course.
Alasdair Mackay
17   Posted 16/11/2009 at 13:56:05

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Reading all these posts is depressing me. I thought I would contribute a more positive potential scenario.

Given that we had identical points at the same stage last season, we go on a similar run. Finishing 5th, behind 4th place Spurs and ahead of Lescott and Co.

Liverpool’s implosion continues and they finish 7th.

We enjoy a run to the semi-finals of the Europa Cup, elevating the club further in terms of European status.

Rodwell stays, realising that the Everton Rooney left is very different from the Everton of today, and that he will get in the team at Everton.

An agreement with City is revealed that we have signed Jo for £3million.

Arteta (who never had pace to rely on to start with) comes back from injury a better player than before.

Jagielka and Baines make Engalnd World Cup squad, while Bily, Yak, Yobo, Cahill, Neill and Pienaar all play starring roles for their countries.

We get £12million for Pienaar off the back of his WC display.

That money is used to bring another creative central midfielder in.

Okay, okay. I know. I just needed cheering up after reading all those other posts. I tried to make it semi-realistic (I didn’t have us winning the cup double and finishing 4th).
Eugene Ruane
18   Posted 16/11/2009 at 14:14:18

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Jo - £3m?

(drums fingers on lips)

Wibble-flibble-wibble-wibble..
Ciarán McGlone
19   Posted 16/11/2009 at 14:19:52

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Signing Jo and selling Pienaar?

This is your idea of positive?
Guy Hastings
20   Posted 16/11/2009 at 14:27:57

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Excellent piece by Sam Wallace in today’s Indie on Jack Rodwell. By ’excellent’ I mean, of course, that it mirrors my own point of view and that of every right-minded Blue. It ought to be nailed to BK’s door, too, to arm him against the siren sound of the Arse, Chelsea and Utd’s combined waving chequebooks.
Phil Martin
21   Posted 16/11/2009 at 17:05:54

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Dennis Stevens:

I do think that if Moyes can keep the majority of the current squad together and add just a couple of players reasonably early next summer, we could be instore for a cracking season 2010-11 — we better had too as we’re due to win the title again next season!



We’ve said this for the last two years and guess what? Nothing happens. Last summer was the crossroads and our lack of spending power has set the tone for the immeadiate future. When Arteta is back and fit, clubs will be back in for him. Arsenal, Liverpool, Spurs, Ath Madrid, Man City will all be sniffing about. Same for Pienaar, Yakubu, Rodwell and Jags. Unfortunately we dont have anything more to offer those players.

We had a big chance when we finished 4th to push on. But our pauper spending spree limited our ambitions. We’ve since had last year and the year before to get those 2 or 3 extra quality players to move us on. We failed 3 times and we now see clubs like Bolton, Stoke and Sunderland outspending us.

Dennis Stevens
22   Posted 16/11/2009 at 20:14:13

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Phil Martin — You’re not wrong & yet, despite his failings, Moyes does seem to get us up into the European spots each season.

Although I’m critical of the way this summer’s transfer activity was (mis-)managed, I do feel the overall squad is better as a result. Yes, we may sell to buy again, but if the quality is right & the timing is improved; it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Bringing in quality players & realising a good profit on them is the only way for Moyes to operate at the moment &, by & large, he’s doing a more than decent job.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to next season as a season more than any other for the last 24 years.

Paul Gladwell
23   Posted 16/11/2009 at 21:42:46

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Alasdair AJ is not in the same league as the Yak and the stats prove that mate, you can run all day long but if you cannot hit a cows arse with a banjo what is the point?

The Yak does his work where it matters, have a look at his hold-up play and how he never gets pushed off the ball too, a lesson a few of our players could do with learning.

Alasdair Mackay
24   Posted 17/11/2009 at 11:36:29

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I feel I need to clarify a few of the ponits from my "positive post". Pienaar is a more important player than Jo, but I am resigned to losing him, to be honest. We can’t afford to pay him the money he wants. Even in the most positive sense I think he is off. Hope I am wrong.

Jo for £3million - ambitious but you never know. He is not getting anywhere near the City team anny time soon and they will still be paying him some of his wages. He loves it Everton and will want to come. I think it would be a good deal for that.

Yak v AJ. In my opinion there are fewer strikers with pace than there are that can hold up the ball. Don’t get me wrong, I like Yak. I just prefer Saha and AJ.
Mike Gwyer
25   Posted 17/11/2009 at 15:08:32

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Alasdair. In god's name why do you WANT us to sign Jo?

Keep it simple because I, as yet, have seen fuck all squared that can be deemed as footy come from Jo’s boots or head.
Alasdair Mackay
26   Posted 17/11/2009 at 17:20:38

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I think Jo is a good footballer. He is not going to score 15 goals a season, but he is good at link play and has been fairly effective coming off the bench at times this season. He won the penalty that won the game against Wigan and played a great ball to Billy for the equaliser against Wolves.

I am not for a second saying he is worth £18million. I said that if we got him for £3M it would be a bargain, but I would take him for anything less than £5 million.
Ged Simpson
27   Posted 17/11/2009 at 18:04:49

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James T .... you spell out whatmI see as reality well.

But one thing you miss..... the beauty is that, despite this, we keep doing well.

This season... just bad luck. It happens.
James Boden
28   Posted 17/11/2009 at 18:31:16

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Bloody hell, Dennis. While I admire your great hope, the fact is England are more likely to win the World Cup than we will win the League in 2011. And, for the record, England haven’t got a hope in hell. On the upside, England aren’t winning the World Cup; so that is one thing to look forward to over the summer...
Karl Masters
29   Posted 17/11/2009 at 20:12:52

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James. You would have been laughed out of town in November 1983 if you had said Everton were going to win the League the following season.

And yet, this is exactly what happened and our starting point was even worse than today. I freely admit it is highly unlikely, but ..........every 24 years since 1891........:)
Peter McHugh
30   Posted 18/11/2009 at 13:51:24

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"I feel a bit sorry for Jo. He is being judged as an out and out striker and I see him more as a Sherringham/Bergkamp type player (although not as good - yet). I think there is some mileage in him."

ha ha. funniest thing I’ve read ever.
Dan McKie
31   Posted 18/11/2009 at 16:00:11

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Why we writing this season off already? Like we have never had injuries/small squad before? We are only about 6 points from the european scrap, the FA cup doesnt start until January for us, and a draw in Athens and beat BATE at home will see us safely through this phase of Uefa! Somebody said "Arteta will get homesick", Why? He has spent all of his professional carreer bar 1 season outside of Spain, and that was by far his worst season!! Also, if we could get £25 million for Rodwell in the summer, we will take it, and rightly so. I would sooner another team find out he is average than us. Peolpe who say wait until he plays with Arteta just know that Arteta will be able to carry him through games like he has had to with other players.
Iain Love
32   Posted 18/11/2009 at 22:04:59

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The biggest team in this country is a selling club, ie Ronaldo, Beckham, Horse face... it’s business.
Gary Hughes
33   Posted 20/11/2009 at 01:44:37

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After Rooney & Lescott I don’t ever want to see an Everton player in an England shirt again. Personally I couldn’t give two fucks about England but I will admit that during the World Cup or the Euros they provide a great excuse to get down the boozer & soak up the atmosphere.

Reading the responses everyone seems to be in a panic about Rodwell & Pienaar well for me Rodwell looks a half decent kid with plenty of potential but with a disturbing habit of calmly side footing measured passes to opposition players. Any multi-million pound offer should be gratefully accepted.

Pienaar I will admit is a goodun but is ridiculously lightweight & for me is no more than a slightly more talented version of Osman. Our best player by a country mile is Arteta our one & only truly gifted footballer. Unfortunately it took five years for our manager to realise what a talent he had at his disposal & stop wasting him on the flanks & let him dictate games from the centre of the park.

As for Jo I would rather set fire to 3 million pound than see it wasted on this pathetic excuse for a professional footballer.

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