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[the Goodison Gazette]

Season 2001-2002

Everton pull off double swoop
8 February, 2002

David Ginola: despite his age, a much-needed injection of flair

Walter Smith will have two new names on his team sheet to choose from when Arsenal visit Goodison Park on Sunday after the transfer of Lee Carsley was concluded and David Ginola was a surprise signing from Aston Villa.

Carsley's on-off-and-on-again move from First Division Coventry City finally went through after Everton raised their bid for the Irish midfielder from £1.7m to £1.95m, which was close enough to the Sky Blues' £2m evaluation of the player. Carsley, who has been relegated with the last two clubs he played with (Blackburn Rovers went down while he was playing for them two seasons ago) was once targeted by Howard Kendall during his third spell as manager at Goodison, but the Irishman concluded that Everton were not a big enough club and used the situation to leverage a better contract out of his then club Derby County.

A tough-tackling journeyman defensive midfielder, Carsley is expected to go straight into the starting line-up against Arsenal alongside full debutant Tobias Linderoth, but will face competition from Mark Pembridge who is fit again following a successful reserves run-out midweek.

Well-traveled David Ginola was the real story today, however, when he signed on for the rest of the season, bringing to an end an enormously frustrating and controversial spell with Aston Villa where he barely got a look in after falling out with John Gregory. The 35 year-old mercurial Frenchman was signed and sealed before the media got even a sniff of it, marking another pleasingly efficient transfer coup by Smith.

Lee Carsley: tenacious midfielder completes on-off transfer from Coventry

Ginola arrived in the Premiership in 1995 when Kevin Keegan brought him from Paris St. Germain to Newcastle in a £2m deal. He became a hero on Tyneside for his flair and ability to turn matches. However, when Keegan left St James Park and his team began to break up, Ginola headed to the Capital with Tottenham in a cut-price £2.5m move.

After three years at White Hart Lane, Aston Villa snapped him up for to Newcastle £3m and although things started brightly at Villa Park, matters descended into wars of words and legal proceedings after Gregory made alleged comments about Ginola's physique and the Frenchman sued the then Villa boss over his disparaging comments.

Despite Gregory's departure from Villa in January 2002, Ginola leapt at the chance of new start at Goodison Park and will be hoping to make his short-term move a more permanent one next season.

The flamboyant midfielder told reporters: "This move feels like a new lease of life for me. I was in danger of going a bit stale in the reserves at Villa Park, but now I have the chance to play Premiership football again - which for me is the best league in the world.

"I have signed in time to be eligible to face Arsenal on Sunday - so what a fantastic start that will be for me if Mr Smith includes me in his team plans.

"Also, as I have not played in the FA Cup this season for Villa, I am not cup-tied, and can hopefully help Everton continue their cup run.

"I want the Everton fans to know that I shall give 100 per cent, and I hope to excite them as much as possible. The club's first priority is to guarantee their Premiership status this season and I shall do all I can to help. I also hope the prospect of Ginola and Gazza excites them as much as it does me!"

More on this story from: The Echo

by Lyndon Lloyd


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