Everton: Top 5 Foreign Midfielders to Play at Goodison Park
David Moyes is well known for having an eye for a bargain and he may just have found yet another gem in Royston Drenthe.
The Dutch midfielder put the seal on Everton’s 3-1 win over Wigan with a stoppage time goal that adhered himself to the Goodison faithful.
Whilst his arrival may have been overshadowed by the departure of Mikel Arteta, the ex-Real Madrid man has already made a name for himself during his two substitute appearances for the club.
Everton have possessed a number of foreign midfielders since the Premier League began in 1992; here’s our top five.
5: Steven Pienaar
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David Moyes rescued Steven Pienaar from his miserable stay at Borussia Dortmund in 2007 after agreeing to a one-year loan deal with the German giants.
The South African would pay back his new manager straight away with a number of impressive performances in his debut season for the club. Pienaar’s displays were so notable that Moyes took up the option of signing the creative midfielder on a permanent basis for the paltry fee of £2 million in April 2008.
During his time with the club, Pienaar struck up an almost telepathic understanding with Leighton Baines down the left and that was one of the reasons for Everton’s success in the league and also Europe.
After helping his club to the FA Cup Final in 2009, the diminutive star was named Everton’s Player of the Year following a terrific season with the club in which he scored a goal of the season contender at Villa Park.
Pienaar’s stay on Merseyside would come to an end in January 2011 as he joined Tottenham after turning down a new contract offer at Goodison Park.
4: Andrei Kanchelskis
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In the summer of 1995, Joe Royle pulled off a massive coup for Everton after signing the highly rated Andrei Kanchelskis from Manchester United.
The Russian winger helped the Red Devils win two Premier League titles in his three seasons with the club before he was put on the transfer list by Sir Alex Ferguson.
United’s loss was certainly Everton’s gain and the winger finished the season with 16 goals as the club narrowly missed out on Europe after finishing in sixth place. In a season full of highlights, Kanchelskis went down in Goodison folklore in November 1995 as he grabbed both goals in the 2-1 win over Liverpool.
Kanchelskis would be on his way out of Goodison the following season as he joined Fiorentina for £8 million, but he will always be fondly remembered for his 18 months on Merseyside.
3: Thomas Gravesen
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Thomas Gravesen turned down the advances of Bayern Munich to fulfill his ambition of playing in the Premier League as he signed on at Goodison Park in the summer of 2000.
During his five-year stay on Merseyside, the Danish international would become a cult figure after living up to his nickname of ‘Mad Dog’ with his tough tackling, no-nonsense approach to the game.
Despite being signed by Walter Smith, it would be David Moyes who would get the best out of the midfielder as he became an instrumental figure in Everton’s drive towards the Champions League during the 2004-05 season.
However, Gravesen would not see out the full campaign as Real Madrid snapped the midfielder up for £2.5 million after a number of impressive performances.
The player returned to Goodison Park at the start of the 2007-08 season on a one-year loan deal, but his second spell at Goodison would not turn out to be as successful as his first spell with the club.
2: Mikel Arteta
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Following the departure of Thomas Gravesen to Real Madrid, Everton raided fellow Spanish side Real Sociedad to sign Mikel Arteta on loan for the remainder of the 2004-05 season.
Arteta would carry on from where Gravesen left off as he played an instrumental part in Everton securing their place in the Champions League before signing a permanent contract with the club.
During his time on Merseyside Arteta’s creativity was an essential part of Everton’s success and that was noted when he won the Player of the Year award in both 2005-06 and 2006-07. Due to his form with Everton, many people felt he was unlucky not to win a call-up to the Spanish national squad for their successful Euro 2008 campaign.
The 2008-09 season would end on a sour note for the ex Rangers man as he was stretchered off at Newcastle with knee ligament damage meaning he would play no part in the 2009 FA Cup Final.
Arteta’s spell on Merseyside would come to an end in August 2011 as Arsenal made a late move to secure his services on transfer deadline day. The Spaniard will certainly be missed at Goodison, because as we all know...”there’s nobody better than Mikel Arteta, he’s the best little Spaniard we know.”
1: Tim Cahill
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Following his appointment as Everton manager back in 2002, David Moyes has pulled off a number of great transfers, but perhaps his greatest signing of all is Tim Cahill.
Since signing from Millwall in the summer of 2004, Cahill has become a cult hero at Goodison Park due to his commitment and his eye for a goal.
In his first season on Merseyside, Cahill finished as the club’s top scorer and also won the Player of the Year award as Everton surprised everyone and secured Champions League football. Cahill was infamously sent off in his second appearance for the club after lifting his shirt over his head after netting his first goal for the club at Man City.
Since then, Cahill has continued to find the back of the net due to his impressive runs from midfield and his astonishing heading ability. The Australian international also has an incredible knack of netting in Merseyside derbies which has more than enhanced his already sky high reputation with the club.
There is certainly no doubting Cahill’s commitment to the club due to his performances on the pitch and due to the fact the player has the letters EFC featuring on his tattoo.
Cahill’s corner flag celebration has become his trademark and the Goodison faithful will no doubt still be watching that famous shadow boxing for a few years yet.