5 Reasons Drenthe and Stracqualursi Can Help Everton Shine with No Arteta
Before Everton’s future is discussed, a brief mention of the past. When Mikel Arteta joined Arsenal in the fading seconds of the transfer window, there was a collective hush around many flustered Evertonians. A sense of what next began to permeate supporters everywhere.
Since his inaugural season, Arteta has been a leader at Everton. A fulcrum for creativity, a match winner, and a player the entire squad has idolised and respected, on the pitch, and as a man.
The response from Everton players on Twitter at the time reflects this sentiment. Some players, including Sylvain Distin,
"Feeling confused right now...."
and Louis Saha,
"Aaaaaaaaaaaaah. What is going on???"
showed emotional outbursts at the time his move was announced. Both demonstrate the high esteem all Everton's players held him in. A healthy sign, in an era where money dominates so much in football.
Arteta should not take any bad words from Everton fans. He loved the club, as his genuine and heartfelt farewell interview depicts. When fit, he gave his all and has been pivotal in several memorable wins for the Toffees. He could have moved on several times, for hugely inflated wages, yet he remained loyal. He was also integral in enticing other big names to Everton, and how the squad compares now to the Champions League qualifying squad of 2005.
Eventually, Arteta has chosen to take a stab at Champions League football, something Evertonians should not begrudge him. He has given a cash-strapped side £10 million for a 29-year-old, a 29-year-old who has delivered seven years of service, and originally cost just £2 million. Arsenal came in late, there was no concrete interest in him before the final few days, and Arteta even took a pay cut at the Gunners, highlighting how his move truly was based on footballing terms.
Of course there will be a minority who cannot fathom why anyone would want to ply their trade away from Everton. Some will lash out wildly, looking for someone to blame, but hopefully the majority will thank Arteta for his contributions and recognise what a fantastic deal it represented for Everton.
Now it is time for Everton to move on. They must realise their predicament is not as bad as what is currently being construed in the media. In Royston Drenthe and Denis Stracqualursi, David Moyes has made two astute signings that both have the capacity to become major coups.
Who knew Steven Pienaar or Tim Cahill when they first rocked up at Everton? And don’t forget a certain nomadic Spaniard, who was supposedly on his last legs when he washed up at Goodison Park. That journeyman found a home, starred for seven years, and has just left Everton with £10 million and endless happy memories.
Drenthe Gives Everton the Pace They Have Been Craving
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For seasons David Moyes has grown frustrated at his inability to acquire a wide man with real pace. Despite competent passers, Everton’s approach into the final third is at times lethargic and predictable. Unable to generate enough pace on or off the ball, the Toffees are frequently guilty of passing the ball laterally, void of ideas, and often eventually resort to lofting a ball into the box, with opposition defences well set.
Royston Drenthe has the potential to provide all David Moyes desires. The Dutch international burst onto the scene as an Under-21 international, who, at the 2007 Uefa European Championships, drove the Dutch team all the way in the tournament.
He displayed blistering pace and memorising trickery and was named the player of the tournament. His endeavours gained him recognition from the very elite, and he was soon plucked from Feyenoord by Real Madrid.
Possibly, it may have all fallen into place too quickly for Drenthe. He endured a testing spell at Madrid, despite an impressive start, and his growth in football has become stunted. However, when loaned out last season to Hercules, the football world again began to gain insight at why, four years ago, Drenthe was considered one of the premier talents in Europe.
Respected La Liga expert, Guillem Balague, has tipped Drenthe to prosper at Everton, saying if he is focused and feels loved, he can be a superstar. With Arteta out, Everton fans will not need many reasons to quickly fall at the feet of their latest purchase.
His attributes reek of Premier League talent. Pace, power, tricky. It may have been going to Spain that was his main mistake, a league where technique overpowers his primary assets. With Drenthe attacking from the left, he finally gives Everton a player capable of taking on and ghosting past opponents, a facet sure to lift Everton’s attacking credentials.
Drenthe Is a Perfect Partner for Leighton Baines, Everton’s Most Attacking Asset
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Leighton Baines has become one of the most attacking left-backs in world football. Last season he whipped in 351 crosses, recorded 11 assists and created 74 chances in the EPL, numbers that dwarf Arteta. Now sure to be charged with far more set-piece responsibility, his numbers are likely to swell further.
Royston Drenthe initially started his career as a left-back. He has all the attributes to offer opponents duel threat when attacking in unison with Baines, whilst providing useful defensive cover if a foray forward leaves Baines out of position.
Elsewhere, Leon Osman has been one of the Premier League’s most underrated midfielders for many years. Too often shunted out wide, asked to adapt and take on players, Osman now seems likely to finally get a run in central midfield, partnering the blossoming Marouane Fellaini. Osman excelled in this role late last season and is poised to continue in it now.
The dressing room at Everton, though reportedly harmonious, has remained similar for several seasons. Drenthe's eccentric persona, interesting music tastes and jovial personality could prove a much needed breath of fresh air, and quickly revitalise any sombre spirits at Goodison Park.
Drenthe will be desperate to succeed. In the last year of his contract at Real Madrid, it is up to him to prove to the football world he still has the appetite to delivery what his enormous early promise suggested he could. If he can generate potential suitors, and cause Everton to compete for his long term signature in the same way Pienaar and Arteta appeared at Goodison Park, his signing will go down as a shrewd manoeuvre. Everything suggests he will, it is now in his hands.
Everton Can Now Finally Hold Up the Ball
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All too often at Goodison Park, Everton face rigid lines of defence, as teams are happy to sit behind the ball and grab what they can. Struggling to penetrate these sides, as mentioned, Everton pass laterally and quickly resort to a long ball, often launched from the back by Phil Jagielka. However, Louis Saha and particularly Jermaine Beckford’s limited ability to hold up these balls always cause it to be an ambitious gamble.
At 6’3” Everton’s new Argentinian acquisition, Denis Stracqualursi, has the ability to keep the ball in advanced positions better than anyone that has played at Goodison Park in recent years. This beneficial attacking trait should allow Everton to advance further through and beyond defensive opposition, sending midfield runners. His presence should generally provide more options to threaten teams with.
Likely to be crossed early to by Drenthe, if he speedily escapes markers, or at the end of a move by Baines, the presence of a tall front man is something Everton have been desperately seeking. His presence will be equally useful detracting markers at set-pieces, and team-mates such as the aerially potent Tim Cahill could well prosper and enjoy a return to peak goalscoring form. Cahill so often battles with the opposition's tallest, most accomplished defender, anything less will only increase his scoring potential.
Stracqualursi's Attributes Are Perfect for the Premier League
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Over the summer, Denis Stracqualursi has gathered a sizeable amount of interest. At one point several clubs in Serie A were monitoring his progress. However, no move materialised and hesitation elsewhere has allowed Everton a chance to reap the rewards.
Obtaining a striker on the cheap is one of the toughest tasks for modern day managers. David Moyes did it last year with Jermaine Backford, sold him for £4 million and has now done the same, grabbing Denis Stracqualursi on loan.
The Argentine, on paper, looks ideal for the Premier League. His height, strength and scoring record stand out in Argentina, and it is now up to him to adapt and read the pace of the Premier League quickly. Once he hits the net, he will quickly find how the Goodison Park faithful adore their strikers.
As the 2010 top scorer in Argentina, a feat shared in recent years by Mauro Zarate, Lisandro Lopez, Fernando Cavenaghi and Javier Saviola, Stracqualursi shares accolades in his homeland with some renowned European talent. As with Drenthe, he will want to secure a plethora of suitors, prove his ability on English shores and make Everton compete for his signature come May.
Everton Have Learnt to Cope Without Arteta, New Signings Now Improve the Squad
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As copious as the praise should be for Arteta, Everton had certainly begun to cope without him. He only appeared in 44 out of the last 90 Premier League games. Last season Everton won 31 per cent of games with him, but managed to win 44 per cent without him. Additionally, Everton’s two major achievements in David Moyes’ reign, an FA Cup final run in 2009 and Champions League qualification in 2005, were both predominantly achieved without the Spaniard.
Whilst nobody can legitimately claim Arteta will not be missed, the presence of Drenthe gives Everton attacking tools they have not been able to deploy in midfield during recent years. Osman will now play in the Arteta role but will eventually step aside for the exciting Ross Barkley.
Everton's latest young talent is currently acclimatising to the pace of the Premier League out wide. When he does move to central midfield, he has all the qualities to eclipse the very best players to have graduated from Everton's prestigious academy.
Up front, Yakubu was never likely to feature this season. Never able to recapture his early form, his departure was inevitable. Jermaine Beckford scored 10 goals last season, displaying skill as a finisher, however his all round game was not up to Premier League standards. Everton have replaced him with a striker that seems more than competent where Beckford was lacking, whilst still possessing a healthy scoring ratio.
As a 27, 28 and 29-year old depart, a 23 and 24-year-old bolster the ranks at Everton. Drenthe and Stracqualursi join Seamus Coleman, Jack Rodwell, Ross Barkley, and Marouane Fellaini at a club with a youthful core. Whilst these youngsters lost a role model in Arteta, with David Moyes, Phil Neville, Tim Cahill and others around them, this impressive crop have some of the best guidance around them to help them, and Everton, flourish.
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