Wait for it…….Everton have signed a player.
No, it’s not a new player per se but Marouane Fellaini’s new 5 year deal at Everton should be greeted with very much the same level of optimism.
With the current plight of the club and the recent transfers of Steven Pienaar and Mikel Arteta, a mass exodus was widely expected, with the likes of Fellaini, Jagielka, Baines, Rodwell and Barkley all expected out of the door sooner rather than later.
It’s also been mooted that said exodus would signal the end of David Moyes’ reign as Everton manager. How can you carry on when your best players are continually sold against your wishes to service a debt with the bank?
When it was suggested that talks were ongoing and that the club were hopeful of committing the Belgian for a while longer, many fans were sceptical and felt this news could only be good news when pen met paper.
Well it’s happened. He’s signed. He’s committed the next 5 years of his playing career to Everton Football Club.
Ah, what’s that I hear you say, a contract isn’t worth the paper it is written on these days? Well actually it is. To say its not, is a myth. A Bosman orientated urban legend if you like.
With potential suitors of the calibre of Chelsea, it would have been quite easy for Fellaini to run down the remainder of his contract and then move either at a reduced fee in the coming 18 months or at the end of the contract for free. He would have no doubt have been suitably “compensated” for his patience with a sizeable signing-on fee.
No, the new deal benefits Everton in every sense. Player power is a phrase used all too often these days but a long-term deal for a player of Fellaini’s ilk adds strength to the position of his football club.
They either get 5 more years from one of Europe’s up and coming talents or should he leave anytime soon, the contract extension ensures he doesn’t leave on the cheap.
The new deal doesn’t mean the club is suddenly on the up and that all is rosy – the Blue Union’s planned protest march at the Wolves game at the weekend would indicate very much otherwise – but it is a positive step forward and I defy anyone to say otherwise.
Make no mistake, Fellaini had options but his choice to stay at Everton should be widely applauded as a shrewd piece of business by the club. Will those who believe that everything Kenwright and the board touch is wrong join the applause? Probably not. But they should.
Even as an Evertonian you could perhaps understand any young player looking round the dressing room and wondering if it was time to move on given the cloud hanging over the club. But this one hasn’t. He’s staying….well for now anyway.
Does that mean that Jagielka, Baines, Rodwell and Barkley are shoe-ins to do likewise? Unfortunately not but it is a statement of intent from the club and certainly makes any future negotiations with those players, easier.
Let’s not forget, none of the above listed players have ever voiced a desire to leave Everton and one would hope that continues to be the case.
Robert Elstone has recently spoken publicly about the present position of the Club. Advising that talks proceed with potential investors on an almost continual basis. Perhaps these talks are further down the line than we know and that’s the reason for Fellaini’s decision? We can only speculate. What is clear for all to see is that Moyes is still pulling the strings at Everton.
If the sole purpose of the club was to produce players or nurture players to sell at a profit and ease the financial worries of the club, then Fellaini is sold to the highest bidder. The pursuit of the player on a longer deal and the players desire to sign would indicate a manager who not only wants to keep his best players but plans to be around for the foreseeable future to see them grow.
Next summer could be a pivotal one in the history of Everton Football Club. Sell the family silver in a “Fire Sale” and it is difficult to imagine the club steering through these choppy waters successfully.
Keep what you’ve got then there is some room for optimism. It’s only a glimmer of hope, but it’s a glimmer all the same.
Follow Jamie on Twitter @JamieORourke2
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