Everton FC: Ranking David Moyes' Top 10 Best Buys
At Everton, it is well known how David Moyes is charged with working wonders in the transfer market.
He has generally been denied the financial backing to compete with other Premier League rivals and is forced to continually scour the market for potential hidden gems. In fact, over the past two years, only Newcastle (boosted by Andy Carroll's departure) have shown a lower net spend than Everton.
Despite the ominous financial predicament surrounding his club, Moyes frequently produces the goods for Everton.
Not only by keeping his side performing at the top end of the division but, as this list portrays, by constantly unearthing Premier League talent for minuscule amounts.
Everton fans will currently be hoping that new faces Royston Drenthe, Denis Stracqualursi and Apostolos Vellios will become the next crop of talent brought in for a minimal price.
Here is a perception on the best transfer work of David Moyes, considering value, profit and of course, impact for the Toffees.
10. Seamus Coleman
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How can a player, judged only on one full season at Everton, already be considered one of David Moyes’ best purchases in almost a decade of work?
Well, simply put, how many players can say they have potentially multiplied their value over 100 times in just a single year?
Coleman was scouted playing in Ireland for Sligo Rovers. After being advised to target him, David Moyes needed to bid just £60,000 to acquire the full-back’s services, the same amount a top Premier League player would take home every week in wages.
Liverpool could have bought 583 Seamus Colemans for the money they used to buy Andy Carroll.
He has rapidly become an Everton regular and his transfer may go on to represent one of the greatest steals of the Premier League era.
A right-back by trade, last season Coleman was ushered further forward into midfield.
He was a consistent performer, both scoring and setting up goals. Perhaps his most notable deed was a mazy run through Liverpool's defence to set up Tim Cahill for the opening goal of a Merseyside derby.
He ended the year breaking into the Irish national side and winning Everton’s Young Player of the Season award for deserved recognition after an encouraging year.
His rampaging runs and committed, full-bodied displays, have caused Everton fans to christen him Seamus Ramos, after Real Madrid’s rampaging right-back, Sergio Ramos.
Naturally more comfortable further back, Coleman eventually seems destined to be Everton’s long-term solution at right-back. If he is in partnership with Leighton Baines, Everton may soon possess two of the most attacking full-backs in the Premier League.
9. Tim Howard
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Tim Howard is a former Manchester United player drafted in by David Moyes.
He arrived needing to win over the Goodison Park faithful, who had been so used to seeing Nigel Martyn perform heroics in goal. However, it didn't take long for him to gain acceptance, especially as he began in an Everton side that remained unbeaten from August through to October.
After initially signing on loan, Howard joined for an undisclosed fee, thought to be in the region of £3 million.
In five full seasons the American has only missed four games, and a couple of them were only due to a clause in that initial loan agreement with Manchester United.
During that time he has gone from being an outsider at Manchester United to being rightly regarded as one of the top stoppers in the Premier League.
At 32, he is about to reach his peak. With goalkeeper purchases now reaching ridiculous heights, Tim Howard certainly represents a clever coup for David Moyes.
In goal he is athletically gifted, continually bailing out his defence by coming for crosses, and is an astute shot stopper.
In 2009 he registered 17 clean sheets, breaking Everton’s Premier League record of 15. He has also established himself as one of the best goalkeepers facing penalties, saving many decisive efforts over his Everton career, including two vital FA Cup semifinal saves in 2009.
His value is certainly recognised by Everton, who recently named him (in Bill Kenwright’s infamous leaked transcript) as one of a quartet of players they would simply not accept bids for.
8. Phil Neville
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When Phil Neville arrived on Merseyside, following 11 years of service at Manchester United, his signing provoked a mixed reaction from Everton supporters.
After such a long spell playing for and clearly being passionate about a club most Evertonians dislike, he needed to prove a newfound devotion to Everton.
Despite a rocky start, it did not take long for his energy, commitment and exemplary attitude to quickly win over the doubters.
Signed for £3.5 million, his wholehearted performances over the years have more than made up for this fee.
Quickly assigned captain, he has performed in several different positions for David Moyes. Initially brought in with a view to playing in midfield, Neville has mostly been used as a right-back, and has also appeared right across the back four.
Capable of a menacing delivery going forward, he is also defensively solid and his leadership qualities will always be heard on the field.
Who can forget the way he impeccably nullified Gareth Bale during the game at White Hart Lane last season, when the PFA Player of the Year was at the peak of his powers?
That impressive performance even got Neville trending on Twitter!
However, his inclusion in this list is not solely based on his endeavours as a footballer. Time and again he has galvanised his troops on the pitch or in the dressing room.
Away from football too, he leads an inspirational existence, utterly committed to his profession.
He will have been a valuable role model to many talented youngsters integrated into Everton's first team, all fortunate enough to be able to learn from his considerable experience.
Neville is now is his seventh season at Goodison Park and approaching his 200th Premier League appearance.
David Moyes sees him as his eyes on the pitch, and although his days as a high-class Premier League performer may soon be up, his purchase will undoubtedly go down as a wise bit of business by David Moyes.
7. Steven Pienaar
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Had Steven Pienaar not wound down his contract at Everton, eventually leaving for just £3 million, he would have been further elevated up this list.
Signed on an initial loan, the South African international soon made a permanent switch for a roughly £2 million fee.
At his best in an Everton shirt, his value would have soared past eight figures.
Signed from Borussia Dortmund, he soon settled at Everton enjoying a left-sided role. Playing in tandem with Leighton Baines, the attacking instincts of Baines enabled Pienaar to patrol a narrower channel and the duo quickly formed a lethal partnership down the Toffees' left.
Throughout his Everton career, Pienaar was always a quietly efficient performer; however when Mikel Arteta was sidelined with serious injuries in 2009 and 2010, Pienaar really came to the fore. It was then he enjoyed his best seasons, initiating many attacks with some lavish skills and rounded it off by being named the Fans' Player of the Season in 2010.
Overall, Pienaar played at Everton for three-and-a-half years, and was an attacking focal point during some of the Toffees' best seasons in recent memory.
His standout moments would include his input in the cup runs of 2008 and 2009, and his sublime chip that so nearly took all three points at the Emirates against Arsenal in 2010.
6. Nigel Martyn
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Perhaps a surprise addition on this list, but Nigel Martyn should be considered as one of David Moyes’ best buys.
In fact, Moyes has gone on record several times claiming this to be the case, so it can’t be too far from the truth.
Signed from Leeds United, for a nominal fee, Martyn was originally brought in to back up and mentor Richard Wright. However, once Wright suffered an early-season injury, Martyn quickly stepped in and was instrumental in his first few games.
He remained in goal for the entire season and had a large amount to do with keeping the Toffees in the division during a dismal campaign where they finished 17th. He was a rare positive and was particularly impressive in a match against Liverpool, thwarting numerous attempts on goal.
Martyn's second season saw him retain the starting spot, as Everton surprisingly took the Premier League by storm.
His sturdy work in goal helped the Toffees finish fourth after an incredible year, good enough to qualify for the Champions League. During this season Martyn helped Everton form a miserly defence and was once again a central performer.
With all this achieved at the very twilight of his career, injuries and his advancing years ended his time at Goodison Park far too soon for many fans.
Approaching 40, he retired after making 100 appearances and is still fondly remembered for his goalkeeping exploits.
What he achieved at Everton could hardly have been predicted when David Moyes brought him in for next to nothing. An undoubted bargain, Martyn resurrected his career and was a pillar of consistency on the field.
5. Phil Jagielka
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A fee of £4 million brought Phil Jagielka over from Sheffield United in 2007. Initially his role was unclear.
He mostly featured in defensive midfield or at right-back, but it was not until he was used as a central defender that he truly displayed his Premier League pedigree. In defence, he initially struck up solid chemistry with Joseph Yobo and later Joleon Lescott, and his presence quickly solidified the Toffees' back four.
In Everton’s Premier League history, their best defensive record was allowing 44 goals in the 1996 season. However, with Jagielka at the back in 2007, Everton conceded just 36 goals.
They then went three better in 2008 with only 33 going in and maintained their consistency in 2009, only leaking 37 goals. Jagielka only missed eight games during these three campaigns and rose to prominence as one of the league’s best defenders.
His best current memories would still be from the 2009 season, when he played the best football of his career so far.
He was influential at the back, won Everton’s Player of the Season and Players’ Player of the Season awards, and forced his way into the England fold.
During a vital qualification match against Ukraine, with John Terry and Rio Ferdinand starting, an injury late on to Ferdinand prompted Fabio Capello to use Jagielka as his first choice backup.
With Everton, who could forget his match-winning spot kick against Manchester United that year to send the Toffees into the FA Cup final?
Had injury not cruelly curtailed his season just a few games before that final, he may well have become an England regular. As it was, that injury kept him out for almost a year, and he then failed to make England's 2010 World Cup squad.
Since returning from that injury 18 months ago, Jagielka has shown numerous glimpses of the imposing force of 2008 and 2009.
Time is still on his side, although he was close to departing for Arsenal in the summer. Everton reportedly wanted £20 million for his services, five times the price he was bought for.
Thankfully for the Toffees fans he stayed and has another season to once again establish himself as a top Premier League performer.
He seems destined to become Everton’s next leader on the field and whether he stays and becomes captain, or leaves for big sums of money, both scenarios would prove what a sound investment he has been for Everton.
4. Joleon Lescott
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Possibly the least welcomed addition to this list, due to sour nature of his move to Manchester City, Lescott's position here should be accepted by most Evertonians.
Most can still recognise the contribution he made, if not the shrewd bit of business his sale represented.
Lescott was a bargain for Everton for around £5 million and the Toffees made a net profit on him of nearly £20 million after just three seasons.
Lescott impressed in all three of his campaigns in royal blue, winning the Fans Player of the Season in 2008 and the Players' Player of the Season in 2007 and 2008.
That year, 2008, was certainly his best. For a defender, he scored an incredible 10 goals.
Lescott was integral to Everton as they made strides in Europe, reached the semifinals of the League Cup and ran Liverpool very close in a battle for fourth place.
The following year he was also instrumental in the Toffees’ path to the FA Cup final.
Generally ever-present during his Everton stint, he was in sides that finished fifth (twice) and sixth. The Toffees have only equalled or bettered once under David Moyes without Lescott in the squad.
Another who bulldozed his way into the England setup on the back of some impressive displays for Everton, Lescott again illustrates Moyes’ knack of honing Championship talent into Premier League and international class.
It is debatable whether he has been as dominant since leaving Everton, but at Goodison Park he was a key contributor.
He formed a consistent partnership with either Phil Jagielka or Joseph Yobo and often also performed as a barnstorming left-back during a period where Everton's defence was rarely breached.
At the other end, his overall record of 17 goals in 143 games at Everton even makes him more potent in front of goal than Victor Anichebe!
3. Leighton Baines
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Baines skyrockets up this list due to his current status as Everton’s most valuable commodity and most consistent performer.
Signed from Wigan for a fee believed to be in the region of £6 million, the miniature left-back has grown in status. He is now Everton’s standout performer and arguably one of the best left backs in the Premier League.
Currently Baines would potentially only be sold for a figure approaching four times his signing fee.
His inaugural Everton years saw him be solid and reliable, yet over the past two seasons he has been sensational and the architect behind most of Everton's good work.
With Steven Pienaar and Mikel Arteta recently departing, Baines now takes on even more added creative responsibility.
Last season, incredibly for a left back, he registered 11 Premier League assists, mainly due to his devilish deliveries.
Overall, in the 2011 campaign, out of 1,019 total crosses Everton sent in, Baines delivered 351 of them. Even more impressively, of the accurate crosses Everton registered, Baines was behind 43 percent of them, signalling his pivotal role.
Fabio Capello has made him a regular in his England squads, and his statistics from last season trounce other Premier League adversaries, such as Ashley Cole.
His work does not just stop creatively; last season he also registered seven goals for Everton whilst still doing most of his work defensively.
Baines has been recognised by his peers, who have voted him the Players’ Player of the Season two years running. He was also the Player of the Season last year.
With a left-back merry-go-round over the summer, Everton fans will be relieved nobody seriously targeted Baines and will hope his on-field exploits can catapult them to imminent success.
2. Mikel Arteta
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What can be said about Mikel Arteta that has not already been said in recent weeks?
Having just departed for Arsenal in a bid to restore the stability at the Emirates, Arteta leaves Everton as a modern-day hero.
After a brief loan spell, he was brought in for just £2 million from Real Sociedad and made an instant impact. Player of the Year twice in his first two full seasons, Arteta went on to feature for the Toffees in eight Premier League campaigns.
When on the pitch, he was Everton’s creative guru, orchestrating countless attacks with craft, guile and an his attractive style of play.
He also scored in each of the eight seasons he featured in, finishing with a decent scoring ratio of 34 goals in just over 200 appearances.
A proven match winner, some of his best moments include a derby-day goal, a dramatic leveller against Manchester United and a wonderful strike against Fiorentina that sent Goodison Park into raptures.
In his first four seasons, Arteta quickly became accepted as one of the best midfielders in the Premier League. However, his final two-and-a-half were more choppy, punctuated by injury.
Some are adamant he never quite regained the form of his first four years, yet his return coincided with Everton’s shortage of strikers and the offloading of other key players that have also made this list.
Had he left for an inflated price a season before, he may even have topped this ranking due to the profit Everton would have made.
Still, £10 million for a player that cost David Moyes £2 million is certainly admirable business after several years of service.
His pending return to Goodison Park on March 17th could be an emotional day for the best little Spaniard Everton knew.
1. Tim Cahill
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Of course, how could anyone else end up higher than Everton's number 17?
It was close between Cahill and his great mate Arteta, but the repeated amount of times Cahill has spurred Everton on with a match-winning strike sees the Australian triumph.
The talismanic Aussie has reached cult hero status on Merseyside, and rightly so.
Bought for an undisclosed fee, believed to be in the region of just £1.5 million, his transfer is viewed as one of the steals of the Premier League era.
Many pundits rightly point to this acquisition as one of the best ever. Had he ever been sold, at his peak he could have fetched more then 10 times the amount Everton paid for him.
Aerially he is renowned as one of the best in the game, aided by a leap and spring that would surely compete with most basketball players.
He is the ultimate team player and, without fuss, plays wherever he is asked, often as a striker or even wide midfield at times. Most know he is best utilised behind a target man, making his trademark undetected late runs.
Cahill has been a match winner throughout his Everton career, continually attracting opposition team's best markers, yet so often bettering them.
His scoring record of five goals in Merseyside derbies is the second highest post-war tally (behind Graeme Sharp) and represents his big-match reputation.
He also boasts impressive scoring ratios against other top teams, including a stunning last-minute bicycle kick against Chelsea.
Approaching 200 Premier League games for the Toffees, he has already hit 54 Premier League goals and will be keen to surpass Duncan Ferguson's Everton record of 61 Premier League goals.
His passion and commitment to the club is exemplary (he even has an Everton tattoo), and his attitude and persona embodies everything a fan wants in a modern-day player.
Brought in at a time when Everton had narrowly avoided relegation, in his first season he was Player of the Season as the Toffees qualified for the Champions League.
With Cahill on board, Everton have only dropped out of the top eight once in seven seasons. At £1.5 million, has there ever been a greater Premier League bargain?
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