STEVEN PIENAAR has told David Moyes he wants to stay at Everton this summer, according to the Blues boss.
The South African midfielder was impressive once again on Saturday, creating three goals as Everton comfortably beat Fulham 4-0 in the Premier League.
Moyes was clear about his intent to re-sign the 30-year-old from Tottenham on a permanent deal when the season ends, and believes that the player’s personal desire to stay on Merseyside could help a potentially fraught transfer.
“I don’t know if we have, or haven’t got a chance of keeping Steven Pienaar yet,” he said. “We’ll try after the season finishes. I’m sure we would all like to keep him, and I actually think Steven would like to stay. If that’s the case it gives us a chance to make it happen, obviously he’s owned by Tottenham Hotspur but he’s told me he wants to stay.
“You can see how terrific he was against Fulham. He created two goals and all around he looks as if he enjoys his football and feels appreciated. What he does is exceptional.”
Moyes was equally thrilled with the performance of striker Nikica Jelavic, who benefited from two Pienaar assits to take his tally for Everton to 10 goals, and the Blues boss admitted that the £5.5m fee paid to Glasgow Rangers for the Croatian was a smart piece of business.
“To sign a centre forward who scores goals in the Premier League normally costs you a bundle of cash,” he said. “I remember thinking will he or won’t he? And I mean this with all due respect but what would £5m get you as far as a goal scoring striker goes? You could go into the Championship and you certainly wouldn’t be able to afford the best centre forward from there. He’s been a really good signing.
“I don’t know whether it’s fair to say he’s the best signing in the Premier League all year. Other people will say otherwise. But certainly for us at Everton he’s given the players a real lift, and it looks like we’re playing with someone who can score and lead the line. We look more potent now.
“He’s unflappable. He’s had a couple where he has gone through and missed, one at Swansea, but you get the feeling there are just goals in him. I could have taken him off earlier because the game seemed won, but I wanted to give him the chance to get his hat-trick.”
Moyes said Jelavic’s quick adjustment to life in the Premier League has been helped by his team-mates, who have made him quickly feel part of the club.
He said: “I’ve got to give credit to Phil Neville, Tim Cahill and the other boys. They have really helped him settle in. They took him out straight away and hopefully gave him the third degree over what was expected and so far he certainly hasn’t disappointed.”
The Blues remain in seventh place in the top flight, two points ahead of Liverpool, but already Moyes is beginning to ponder how to ensure next season is not hampered by the team’s traditional slow start.
“I’ve tried everything with pre-seasons,” he said. “Some teams have started the campaign very well and ended up fading away, we don’t start it well and pick up. It’s a hard league to be really consistent the whole way through and not have bad periods.
“Ours unfortunately tends to be the first half and then we get better. But maybe most people would have probably said Everton would be roughly where they are now.
“It fills me with confidence for the start of next season. It’s always done that for me. You think, ‘Hey we’re a decent team and can we keep it going and add to it?’ We’ll see what we can do.”