Steven Pienaar’s transfer saga finally came to its inevitable conclusion today when theSouth African signed a big money move with Dirty Arry Redknapp’s Spurs.
Much has been made of the wage the pint sized schemer has been demanding and it looks as if the wage will top what we offered by £20k per week from the £50k that was on the table from us. Whilst his decision is by no means a surprise (if boyhood Blues like Jeffers & Rooney won’t stick around what chance a South African who probably hadn’t heard of Everton til he signed) it is sad that someone who has been pivotal in our evolution from a hard working, organised team into one that plays more expansive, passing football is leaving to what will probably be a squad role at Spurs.
Pienaar could really play and his interplay with Baines has been our best attacking weapon for the last 3 seasons. Even though he hasn’t contributed one direct assist this season the movement he makes inside to create the space for Baines to bomb up the touchline to get his crosses in has led to Baines accruing 7 assists this campaign. He is a team player who had the rare combination of sublime skill matched with great determination and application, even during the latter days of his Everton career . The only thing you could perhaps level against him is that there is a lack of end product and he could be questioned positionally from a defensive point of view as opposition managers have exploited to our detriment.
The stats show that with him in the team in Premier League games we have a win rate of 37% whilst without him the figure is 40%, so I wouldn’t say he is as integral to us as, say Mikel Arteta whose win rate in the team is 44% compared to 37% when he isn’t featuring.
its going to be very hard to replace the South African especially given the poultry sums David Moyes will be given from Kenwright, probably a couple of quid and some complimentary tickets to a West End show will be the extent of our transfer wedge leaving us lagging behind even the likes of Stoke noawadays. To replace him in the current market you are looking up to £10m. Players linked so far include Eagles at Burnley which is hopefully just speculation. If we want to keep our left sided strategy we will need someone who can tuck in and play inside, not someone who will hug the touchline and look to get crosses into the box. We have Billy of course and he is surely going to be given the nod until the end of the season at least.
In conclusion, it’s going to be very hard to replace the South African midfielder. He gave us some great memories and was a joy to watch, but no player is bigger than the club and we need to move on quickly.