MIKEL ARTETA signing a new five-year contract at Everton is great news for the club but the pressure is now on Steven Pienaar.
Arteta has become the latest in a long line of Goodison stars to commit themselves to a new deal this summer following contract extensions by the likes of Jack Rodwell, Tim Cahill and Leighton Baines.
Bids for Phil Jagielka have also been thrown out so with everyone else committed to a long-term future with Everton, all eyes are now firmly fixed on Pienaar with the question ‘what are you going to do?’
Pienaar had a really good season last year but he didn’t have a good World Cup.
He was under a lot of pressure spearheading the hosts’ charge in the first ever African tournament but after his summer disappointments there might be a few previously interested clubs who have decided they won’t now take him.
I’ve spoken to David Moyes and we all know there’s a really good contract offer on the table from Everton.
So Pienaar could sit on his current deal for a year but does he really feel that he’s going to join anyone better?
I guess Everton will now be quite relaxed about it. There’s the deal if you want it, if you sign it ‘great’, if you don’t then take your chance.
I know he’s been impressive at club level for a while now but with the competition Everton have in midfield he’s not necessarily guaranteed his place in the team.
At least Everton didn’t shell out massive money to sign Pienaar which would soften any blow of him going for nothing in a year’s time.
They’ve cashed in big time in the past on the likes of Wayne Rooney and Joleon Lescott when the players decided they want to go and some you win and some you lose.
Going back to Arteta, I think he’s had a look around and has seen how fortunate he is at Everton.
There’s a great team spirit, he knows how they play and he’s got the money he wanted.
I’m sure the likes of Manchester City and Arsenal were interested in a big way but perhaps Cesc Fabregas staying at the Emirates has helped.
The whole summer transfer market has been delayed by the World Cup and you’d have expected more deals to have been done by now but once one or two big deals are completed you’ll get that knock-on effect that gets the cash flowing. One deal that seems immanent is James Milner’s departure from Aston Villa to Manchester City which will have played a big part in Martin O’Neill’s resignation.
He was presumably against it from the start but we’d heard a few weeks back from Villa that he could go if their asking price was met.
Martin is a great man of principle and if he think’s that Villa have just become a selling club then he’s probably thought ‘what’s the point?’
He’s like that –very strong-willed and determined – and to be honest his departure doesn’t surprise me.
Something else that wasn’t much of a shock was the double international retirements this week of Blackburn goalkeeper Paul Robinson and Manchester United defender Wes Brown – after they’d been picked in Fabio Capello’s England squad to face Hungary tomorrow.
Players like that might think that if they cut out the travelling and commitment that goes with the England team with six-to-eight games per year then they might just get an extra year or two on their club contract.
We said last year that these international friendlies just days before the domestic season starts are daft but doing it just after a major tournament is ridiculous.
Harry Redknapp was right when he said that after over a month together at the World Cup, most of the England players are probably sick of the sight of each other.