Everton willing to sell Pienaar for next to nothing to raise cash

2011-01-13 00:00

WILL it be Chelsea or Tottenham Hotspur? Have Chelsea snuck in at the last minute with a superior offer? Or have Spurs already tied up the player’s signature?

These were the questions surrounding Bafana Bafana and Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar yesterday, as conflicting reports had the player moving to either ambitious Tottenham Hotspur or Roman Abramovich-owned Premiership giants Chelsea.

The issue of Pienaar’s move from Everton has become a complex one. What is certain is that Pienaar will leave the Liverpool club where he has played for three-and-a-half seasons, resurrecting a career that had gone stagnant at German club Borussia Dortmund, with great success. What is not certain is when, to whom and how.

There were conflicting reports yesterday. The Guardian reported that Pienaar has agreed a deal in principle to sign with Tottenham. Other reports were that Chelsea were about to sneak in with a £3 million offer to Everton and poach the South African from under Spurs’ noses.

Reports linking Pienaar to Spurs said the midfielder had agreed to sign with the London club for a £70 000 a week salary for four years, which translates to £280 000 a month, £3.36 million a year or £13,44 million (R144 million) for the entire period.

It was not clear whether Spurs intended to cough up a £2 million transfer fee to sign Pienaar this month or wait until the end of the season in May, when he becomes a free agent.

Everton manager David Moyes, while reluctant to release his star midfielder before the end of the season, reportedly needs cash to fund the three loan players he has requested to bring into the club.

Pienaar has ignored a £60 000 a week offer that Everton have had on the table since before the World Cup in June. The midfielder, Everton’s 2010 player of the season, felt he deserved parity with a £75 000 deal agreed by Everton with Spaniard Mikel Arteta.

If he joins Spurs Pienaar will become a team-mate of Bafana defender and new Tottenham signing Bongani Khumalo.

While the north London club already have one of Europe’s most exciting talents in left midfield, Welshman Gareth Bale, Spurs manager Harry Redknapp, a professed admirer of Pienaar’s, is aware the South African can also play centrally or as a viable alternative to Aaron Lennon on the right.

That is, if Spurs have not allowed south London rivals Chelsea to beat them to the draw.

If reports are correct then the London club’s offer of £3 million for Pienaar might have thrown a spanner into Spurs’ plans.

While it would be a transfer fee that is a steal for a player of Pienaar’s stature, Everton are willing to sell the player for next to nothing now rather than lose him for no fee when his contract ends in May.

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