Azzurri Gio...
A Look Through The Window
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The 31 days of madness are about to descend upon us when the only thing Evertonians usually have to look forward to are the final few hours of it as Jim White's head threatens to explode live on Sky Sports News.

Once again we're getting linked with everyone from a young Northern Irishman for £100.000 to a multi million pound Dutchman who must have endured a horrible childhood, saddled with the ridiculous name of Wolfswinkel. Anyway, both of them will turn us down, so maybe it's time for a good hard look at our squad and see just exactly what we need and, more importantly, what we might get.

With the 7 week addition of our old friend Landon, Moysie hinted that there might be a couple more on the horizon. Let's hope that means a striker and a creative midfielder, as the rest of the squad, when fit, isn't all that bad.

I've weighed up all of the options and as I don't think we'll get my first choices, Kaka and Higuain, I think we should go for the more realistic options of two Everton old boys: Steven Pienaar and Andy Johnson.

Before you all go off on one, at least let me try and make a case.

Let's start with Pienaar.

 He's not getting a game at Spurs, with even the youngsters like Livermore and Townsend coming off the bench before him. I know he left us, but I, perhaps naively, prefer to give him the benefit of the doubt and think it was for the chance of European football rather than a bigger pay packet.

 It hasn't worked out for him, simples.

Bring him back and give Bainesy the support player that made our left hand side lethal offensively and pretty solid defensively. At the moment Leighton does the running of two men, as whoever plays in front of him doesn't seem to have the intelligence to cover for him when he goes bombing down the wing, with our centre backs then getting pulled across the pitch when our attacks break down.

I also believe that he is good enough to play in the creative central midfield role vacated by Mikel, although I would still rather see the pairing of Felli and Jack in there, with at least one of them given licence to attack.

Ideally I'd like Peanuts on loan, but if Spurs want rid of him then I'm sure he wouldn't cost too much, (even for us).

Now on to AJ.

Maybe not as much as an obvious choice as Pienaar but the type of player our squad is screaming out for.

Up front at the moment we've got a talented striker who can't score from six yards out, and has to be seen as one of the laziest players in our team, (no, he's not laid back as the commentators keep telling me, he's fucking lazy). Tell me one time you've seen him close down the keeper or chase a supposed lost cause into one of the corners, because I can't remember it.

I don't believe for one minute that AJ is the 20 goal striker that us and every other Premiership team is looking for in January but his commitment, and particularly his pace, are both things we are sadly lacking up front at the moment. He can do the job that Marcus Bent used to do by running into the channels and holding the ball up until either Cahill or one of the midfielders can get there to support him instead of what we see now with the ball pumped up to Saha, who, on the odd occasion actually controls it, finds himself 30 yards away from his nearest teammate and unable to keep the ball until they get there.

AJ is obviously not getting the deal he wants at Fulham, despite putting in some excellent recent performances since his injury, and scoring some goals lately, so with his contract running down let's cough up a couple of million and bring him back.

A line up of Howard, Hibbert, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Coleman (or Drenthe or Donovan), Fellaini, Rodwell, Pienaar, Cahill (or Vellios) and AJ by the middle of January would suit me just fine.

They say players should never go back, with lots of people using the McFadden return to prove that point, but I genuinely believe that both of the players I have mentioned can improve our team, and they may just think they've got a bit of unfinished business at Goodison. I hope they get the chance to show us.


Comments about A Look Through The Window
Great article Gio and I for one would welcome Pienaar back with open arms although, when it comes to AJ, I think there's a wider point to consider: we seem to be fantastic at spotting and nurturing talent both organically (Barkley, Rodwell etc.,) and through acquisition (Coleman, Baines et al - although the jury is out since Mick Doherty left the club to scout for Chelsea, he was the real spotter of external talent). We are also superb at reinvigorating players seen as past their best or viewed as 'solid premier league material but nothing special' (Howard, Neville, Cahill, Jagielka, Distin to name just a few recent examples) and we, as a reluctant selling club, will occasionally have to cash-in on this ability to 'add value' ......... .......... but the one area/position that we have failed to either buy well or develop excellence is up front. Recent examples of this would include the names Saha, Beckford, Anichebe and McFadden. Whilst it would be fair to say that there's not many great strikers (young or old) kicking about the premier league (or in fact, across mainland Europe/worldwide) and those truly great ones will always be tempted by wealthy clubs, bigger pay packets and the chance to shine at the highest level (especially when their careers will tend to be shorter than other outfield players and goalkeepers), our track record in this area is shocking. Not only have we failed to spot, with the exception of Rooney some years ago, real goal-scoring class but we have systematically failed to maximise the quality of the raw materials we have been landed with - Yakubu's overnight return to form and fitness for lowly Blackburn being the most recent example. Add to that the failure to snap up players such as Demba Ba when he was offered to us and wanted to come to us and my own conclusion is that we don't have a strategy for finding and developing attacking talent (no surprise when you look at the excellent Mr Moyes' own playing and management history and track record as well as examining the areas of expertise of the coaching staff currently surrounding him). The solution is categorically NOT Andy Johnson, nor is it Landon Donovan, it won't be Saha, Anichebe or the employment of Fellaini and Cahill again as makeshift strikers BUT if a concerted effort is made across all levels of the club to focus on 1) improving our existing attacking players through the immediate recruitment and employment of a dedicated top-level striking coach, 2) bringing in (either this transfer window or in the summer) a quality, proven, top-of-his-game striker (the likes of Gomez, Huntelaar, Lafata, Giroud, Yilmaz, Mertens -all playing outside England, all potentially available for not a great deal of money, none linked with any of the big-spenders, all possibly open to a move to England's finest club to maybe spend a couple of years showcasing themselves before moving on ............ or staying put to enjoy the success they'll help to create) then it could be a very rich, entertaining and rewarding future for a team, a manager and a club that excels in so many other areas. Not many pieces of the jigsaw missing but they do need finding and, Mr Kenwright, paying for.
Fred, Stockport, 3:52 PM 4/01/2012
Spot on. Wish I'd written it myself !
Balcony Blue, Maghull, 5:44 PM 31/12/2011
The Second Half Of The Season For The Past 3 Seasons We Have Only Lost 9 Games Out Of 58. So If Were Are To Repeat The Last 3 Seasons. Were In For A Great 2012
Peter Dutton, Wirral, 12:38 PM 31/12/2011
Peanuts had a Golden Carrot dangled in front of him, More Money and the chance to play in the CL. He went for it! here is the bit nobody seemed to notice, Harry did that on purpose, he bought him for peanuts and offered the same for neville... Why? who was Spurs main rival for a place in the top 4? Efc, and they all fell for it! Look at Everton Now, No peanuts, No ARTETA, and the way Cahill has been playing thats our midfield Gone... AJ Yes, Peanuts Yes, Nicky Maynard from Bristol is better than a young Irish unknown...And thats where Moyes has been focussed for the last few months..
Richy Styles, Kirkdale, 11:50 AM 31/12/2011
I Totaly agree with both Nut's being a no brainer. And AJ yes absolutely he may not be that 20 goal forward but right now a 10 goal forward would do and if 3 of them are past the red Sh** then even better.
B.Davies, Wigan/New Ferry, 7:00 AM 31/12/2011
Why aren't we going for Macheda!!! His agent says he's 95% chance of going to qpr for 6 months. So why not us? He's a decent player so it baffles me why we weren't even mentioned
Alex , Liverpool , 1:03 AM 31/12/2011
Johnson won't move because the only reason he left us was for his family to live in London. But Pienaar, possible?
Alex, Liverpool, 12:23 AM 31/12/2011
I agree that Pienaar would be a good deal on loan because he could give us that creativity in midfield we need, but not permenantly because he like alot of players in our squad arent getting any younger. I do however think we could do much better than AJ, since he was here last time he's declined as a footballer and surely we could get a better loan in than that,
Evan Kelly, Salford, 11:20 PM 30/12/2011
Im With Ya All The Way On The Pienaar Deal. Fans Say We Will Go Backwards If We Sign Him. But Infact Weve Gone Backwards Since We Sold Him. He Wasnt Ya Lescott Who Couldnt Giv A Flying Monkey Sack About Us Once The Arabs Wanted Him.. But Even Tho Pienaar Wanted European Football On The Regular Basis He Wanted To Leave But Still Gave 110% For Us.. Not To Sure On Ya AJ Return Tho Respectfully... If Moyes Is To Remain Playin The 1 Upfront were Gonna Need A Big Power Horse. Ide Throw Drenthe Upfront If Im Honest Now Donovan Has Arrived
Peter Dutton, Wirral, 11:11 PM 30/12/2011
I agree with you regarding Pienaar but if we are looking back at goalscoring, pacey strikers, I still don't think that Jermaine Beckford was given the opportunity and created chance after chance last season. Leicester want rid, we may even make a profit on him from his 6 month spell away. plus he is younger than AJ and doesn't have the woeful injury record.
Leigh, Leeds, 11:05 PM 30/12/2011
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