Steven Naismith could be an Everton player by the end of the week. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
The transfer window officially opened again on July 1st, with Evertonians squinting their eyes in trepidation when searching for transfer rumours for fear it will involve big-name departures.
However, while the usual Leighton Baines to Man United stories continue to rumble on, the main news dominating social networks and sports websites over the weekend were about two potential incomings to Goodison Park.
Yes, I said incomings, and no, it isn’t August 31st yet - the Toffees could be close to signing two new players!One of those is Rangers forward Steven Naismith or should I say former Rangers forward. The Scotland international is a free agent after rejecting a transfer over to the Rangers newco following the old club’s liquation.
Rangers newco chief executive Charles Green opposes the objections and claims he will take legal action, but it seems the players are confident in their ability to free themselves from their contracts.
That means, of course, no club will need to pay a transfer fee so a player of Naismith’s quality is an absolute steal.
He fits the David Moyes mould perfectly – namely he works hard and can play in a number of different positions. The only worry is that his wages or signing-on fee may be prohibitive considering our current financial state.
However, we do have the Nikica Jelavic factor. Jelavic says Naismith is the best strike partner he has ever played with and they enjoyed a fruitful partnership in Scotland. To have the two link-up again is an exciting prospect for Everton fans and perhaps Naismith himself, swaying him away from the other nine or so clubs believed to be after him.
It also shouldn’t be forgotten that David Weir – former Rangers captain – is now coach at Everton. Weir helped persuade Moyes to go for Jelavic in January and such is his standing at both clubs, his presence at Finch Farm may count in our favour.
Several usually reliable sources are saying a deal could be done this week, so to use a famous phrase – watch this space.
Another player who could be incoming is Croatia winger Danijel Pranjic. The 31-year-old is a free agent after his Bayern Munich contact expired and was apparently set to join Everton in January before Bayern pulled the plug.
He is currently on holiday at the moment but this ESPN article carries come interesting quotes and raises hopes a move can be sealed in the coming days.
"I am honoured that such a successful coach wants to sign me, and would be honoured to play for a club like Everton with such a rich history.
"We were very close to completing a deal in January, but then Bayern prevented it going through. I can't say that everything is finished, but next week I'm expecting some concrete developments."
Pranjic is another player who is comfortable in several positions including left-back, but that doesn’t mean Leighton Baines is automatically going to Man United. Some panicky (or just overly negative) people on Twitter are assuming Baines has gone and replacing him with a 31-year-old is bad business. Well, neither move has happened yet and I suspect some of the Tweets were designed simply to have a pop at Moyes or the board.
Baines’ comments printed in several Sunday newspaper articles both comfort and worry Evertonians. He is realistic and is aware of the rumours, but is hardly issuing a come-and-get-me-plea. My gut instinct is that he will stay, I just feel at 27-years-old United will be unwilling to sign him as Sir Alex Ferguson’s tries to buy younger players with potential sell-on value.
If we can make these two ‘free' additions then I would consider that as Moyes’ summer shopping largely done. A deal for Steven Pienaar with any cash we have lying around would complete things for me.
After the past few summers where we have started the new campaign with a wafer thin squad and no signings, the presence of some fresh faces will give everyone a lift any maybe halt this frustrating habit of starting season’s badly.
The Naismith/Jelavic partnership is certainly one to savour as our defensive record is generally sound, but goals were always our Achilles heel. But if the Croatian can carry on his form from last season and link up with his old striking partner again, then Everton fans will have every reason to get excited about what the team can do.