If recent reports are to be believed, Everton will soon resemble a dismembered cadaver, callously cast aside, ruthlessly ravaged by passing vermin, booted about a bit, spat on and torched, just for good measure. A cheery image to commence with, you’ll agree, but it’s the kind of image the mind (a mind, a sick mind, my miserable mind) conjures up given that Everton’s prized assets are continually being linked with a move away from Goodison.
The most recent speculation has suggested Mikel Arteta is on his way to Arsenal or, currently more robustly, Man City for £20m and Steven Pienaar to Bayern Munich or Tottenham, whilst the likes of Marouane Fellaini have also been touted.
So, apparently Everton will be stripped of all their major assets? However, things are not so catastrophic. Tim Cahill, Jack Rodwell – another player hotly tipped as a certainty for the exit – and Seamus Coleman all recently signed long term contracts. Moreover, Arteta has two years remaining on his current deal (whatever that little scrap of paper is worth) and has expressed absolutely no desire to leave, while Moyes has been valiant and shrewd in suggesting many players would be, and have been in the past, better off staying at Everton.
It is likely something, or someone, will have to give; Moyes is usually required to sell in order to spend. Nevertheless, this would probably be a solitary figure at a notable mark-up – akin to Lescott last year – allowing for further squad strengthening. Given his protracted contract talks, his agent’s tone shifting from hopeful to increasingly impatient, and only having one year remaining on his current deal, this seems most likely to be Pienaar. Even this loss is not a certainty, but if he does want to go he could well be replaced by long-running target Joáo Moutinho.
Whatever happens, it will not be as bad as reports suggest, so don’t go to bed dreaming of dismembered corpses just yet.