Diniyar Bilyaletdinov a reminder of more affluent times at Everton

With the transfer window open for business, spare a thought for Everton. While most Premier League clubs will be navigating an inflated market, attempting to reinvigorate their season, the Toffees will be once again sifting through the bargain bin. David Moyes has become adept at making a little go a long way, making optimum use of loan signings and nominal fee signings, but it has not always been this way.

Moyes has built the current side with astute signings, the likes of Seamus Coleman, Louis Saha, Steven Pienaar, Dan Gosling, Tim Howard and Tim Cahill were all brought in for relatively meagre amounts. As a result, Everton were able to allow themselves one marquee signing a season, bringing in Andy Johnson in 2006 and Yakubu in 2007 before smashing their transfer record to acquire Marouane Fellaini for £15m in 2008. The £24m sale of Joleon Lescott to Manchester City funded the purchase of his replacement Sylvain Distin, as well as John Heitinga and what has proven to be Everton’s final big money buy, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, a £9m signing from Lokomotiv Moscow in August 2009.

Bilyaletdinov has proven to be a very expensive fringe player in his first couple of years on Merseyside, unable to secure regular first team football, despite the departure of Pienaar to Tottenham. Highly recommended by former Russia manager Guus Hiddink, Moyes has moved to praise Bilyaletdinov for his patience and attitude. “He sometimes he doesn’t get enough credit, he’s actually a boy who is desperate to do well, a really conscientious worker. He did quite well early in the season, but then I decided to make some changes and he missed out, and he was really unlucky in that sense. It’s been a difficult time for him, and we hope he can continue like this.

In relation to his lacking of opportunities, Bilyaletdinov has revealed: “I feel hurt a bit. There are weeks when I fly in training, the coach speaks highly of me, but still I am not in the team.” With his international prospects under threat, Bilyaletdinov’s frustration is understandable, although it could be argued that some of his flaky performances of late have made him disposable.

What Everton would give for even a fraction of that £9m to spend in the current transfer window. Despite close to £20m worth of talent departing in the summer, Everton are unlikely to be shelling out this month, such is the perilous financial situation at the club. Where fans once speculated on potential signings and Champions League finishes, they are now considered plucky underdogs and have been left behind be the spending power of most other Premier League sides.

Everton have made a typically erratic start to the season, losing at home to QPR, Stoke and Bolton, yet chalking up enough points to be 11th in the table, one point from 9th with a game in hand, against Spurs on Wednesday. The expectation is that Moyes will once more work wonders and Everton will eventually find themselves challenging for a Europa League place, but the task is proving more difficult with every passing season. Funds are required for team building, but as the signing of Bilyaletdinov can attest, you don’t always get what you pay for.

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