Everton FC: 5 Ways Steven Pienaar's Arrival Boosts the Toffees
Everton fans have spent a significant proportion of their summer tuning into sports channels, trawling through sports websites and impatiently refreshing social media devices—all in hope of finding news on Steven Pienaar.
The South African has supposedly been on the brink of returning to the Toffees since the end of last season, yet a deal has taken an eternity to complete.
However, after much waiting, Evertonians finally have their man, as Pienaar is officially back on Merseyside. He has signed a four-year deal after a £4.5million fee was agreed with Tottenham.
Poised for a third stint at the club he first joined five years ago, here are five reasons his return is great news for all those associated with Everton.
Added Attacking Dimension
First and foremost, Steven Pienaar's on-field presence drastically upgrades the Toffees. With the South African back pulling the side's creative strings, Everton look a different animal, with a significantly enhanced goal-threat.
A large reason for last year's faltering start was due to a very one dimensional attack. Quite simply, if Leighton Baines could not be unleashed to cross, David Moyes' side struggled to impose themselves in the final third.
With Pienaar and fellow creative craftsman Mikel Arteta freshly departed, Everton had few players adept at passing through a team, and Louis Saha's unwillingness to move defenders around left Moyes with a glaringly predictable offence, solely looking to cross.
Teams such as Stoke, Blackburn and QPR, well equipped with burly defenders, found it all too easy to sit deep and repeatedly head clear above an often-static Saha.
Pienaar's January return helped transform the Toffees. Playing alongside a more pass savvy Darron Gibson, and with the potent Nikica Jelavic more willing to pull defences around, Everton found they could pass through teams, instead of only looking to go around.
26 goals were scored in the 14 league games he played, and only 24 were managed in the 24 matches he missed. Pienaar advances and develops Everton's attack with class and intricacy, and if he can help replicate his most recent form, Premier League defences beware.
Baines Gets His Partner Back
Whilst Everton fans have suffered with the slow nature of Pienaar's transfer saga this summer, they have simply been tortured by the amount of media outlets continually spouting stories linking Leighton Baines to Manchester United.
There has been an unrelenting surge of material, yet despite endless guarantees of a deal being around the corner, for the time being at least, it seems the clubs are miles apart in valuation.
Baines has been a pivotal player at Everton for a number of seasons. Going forward there are few more consistent attacking full-backs in world football, yet he will probably admit has played his best when partnered with Pienaar down the Toffees' left.
The two share obvious chemistry. Baines' unerring desire to overlap allows Pienaar to operate in a narrower channel and attack defences from an angle. Together they stretch the Toffees' midfield and often overload the opposition.
Refreshingly Baines is one of the more professional breed of footballers who seems content to allow his club to decide his future either way.
That being so, he won't rock the boat, and given their past form together fans will hope the fact he is reunited once again with Pienaar makes vetoing any transfer an even tougher call for the club to justify.
A Wide Berth Is Filled
Last season Everton's flanks were often filled by their loan acquisitions—Royston Drenthe, Landon Donovan and, of course, Steven Pienaar.
Therefore, before Pienaar rejoined, the club's wide options were pretty diminished.
Seamus Coleman, Leon Osman, Victor Anichebe and Magaye Gueye are the main players in contention, most of whom are makeshift wingers who would prefer to be playing in another position. Others can do a job, too, but there's certainly little sign of a genuine winger of Premier League calibre.
Thankfully with Pienaar back on board, there is far better balance to the Toffees' midfield. He will make the left-sided position his own and link up with Leighton Baines.
If Leon Osman cannot work his way into a central position, then presumably he, or Seamus Coleman, will be first choice to start on the right.
Fans Can Move on from Cahill
A week ago fans said goodbye to a club hero when Tim Cahill left Merseyside to join up with the New York Red Bulls.
Most accept it was the right time for Cahill to move on, but there has certainly been a slightly sombre mood around the club, as many fans reflect on his legacy and perhaps regret the fact they did not see him lift a trophy during his eight year spell.
Since he left, a barrage of tributes have poured in for the Australian, and fans have been inundated with photos and videos of his best moments in an Everton jersey.
News of Pienaar's return will take the emphasis away from Cahill's exit, once again raise spirits at the club and give supporters another hero to worship.
Moyes Gets What He Wants
A disconcerting fact, that's been slightly overlooked at times, is how David Moyes has less than 12 months to run on his current deal.
After stating he would sit down at the start of the summer and discuss the matter with Bill Kenwright, there seems to have been little progress made.
Fans endured a worrying few weeks in June, as bookmakers suggested he was in-line to succeed Harry Redknapp at Tottenham. Although that never came to fruition, some of his comments to the press since then have hardly been sugar-coated.
It may well be that Moyes is playing out the summer to see how many targets his Chairman can get him and also—more critically—if any of his key assets have to be offloaded.
Steven Pienaar is clearly a player Moyes rates and desires, therefore bringing the South African back onto the Toffees' roster is a strong statement of support and something that will please him.
He needs to know he will receive the necessary financial backing to succeed. If the club enjoy a successful summer transfer window, where Moyes is provided with coveted targets such as Pienaar, he is far more likely to renew his contract—which would be great news for everyone at Everton.
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