Club Focus – Everton – Pienaar future no closer to a resolution

As the January transfer window draws near the inevitable gossip has already started, and Everton’s Steven Pienaar is again the name on many people’s lips as the soon-to-be out of contract star is linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur.

The South African’s agent spoke to Sky Sports yesterday and stressed Pienaar has yet to make a decision on his future. Ivan Modia said: “The player has not made his mind up. [Pienaar] just wants to concentrate on his football. I cannot make that any more clear.” Modia’s words will not contain much encouragement for Everton fans hoping the midfielder will remain at Goodison Park past the end of his current contract, but he was correct to say Pienaar is playing well for Everton at the moment. Yet as the days go on without the situation resolved the status quo is unlikely to last and the opening of the January window could be the catalyst.

Everton manager David Moyes has been clear in his intention to hold on to the player until the end of the season, new contract or not. In July Moyes said: “We are not listening to offers for him, and he is not going to be sold, because we don’t want to sell him.” Moyes proved true to his word then, resisting the temptation to cash in while Pienaar still had a year on his contract and there is no reason why that would have changed since. Indeed, the money Everton would receive for Pienaar would only have dropped since then, particularly with clubs outside of England soon able to sign Pienaar on a pre-contract agreement, leaving Everton without the player after the end of the season or any money to compensate. With experience of playing in the Netherlands at Ajax and Germany’s Borussia Dortmund, Pienaar’s multi-national background could make him a sound acquisition for anyone on the continent.

But it is Tottenham that are most strongly linked with Pienaar. Harry Redknapp’s team have been rumoured to hold an interest in Pienaar since the summer but no acceptable bid was forthcoming. If Redknapp is seeking to strengthen his side for the post-Christmas Champions League campaign Pienaar would be a sensible option, available as he is for European action. A swap deal involving the out-of-favour Niko Kranjcar has been mooted, but a similar trade involving Peter Crouch was also discussed in August and still Moyes remained resolute. That was before Everton’s Premier League struggles left them at the wrong end of the table, however, and while Crouch is unlikely to leave White Hart Lane for a return to Merseyside the guarantee of first team football could sway him, just as the chance for Moyes to add a proven goal scorer or a talented midfielder in the Pienaar mould to his anaemic ranks could see Pienaar heading to the capital. Kranjcar has reportedly rejected a loan move to Everton, and his £3m asking price could prove too rich for the Goodison paupers, but a swap deal could prove the solution for all concerned.

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