Posts tagged Jonny Heitinga
Nikica Jelavic has more than just his position as a striker in common with Jordan Rhodes, Salomon Kalou, Nicky Maynard, Ricardo Vaz Te and even Carlos Tevez: he was linked with West Ham during the January Transfer Window. However, unlike Ricardo Vaz Te and Nicky Maynard, who signed for The Hammers on deadline day, Jelavic didn’t join the current Championship table toppers and headed to Premier League club Everton, for a fee of £5m. For Everton, it completed a successful transfer window, which saw Steven Pienaar re-join his former employers much like Landon Donovan – both on loan – and Darron Gibson sign a four-and-a-half-year deal, as well.
The signing marked the first over £1m for Everton since signing Jonny Heitinga for £6.2m in the 2009 summer transfer window, which was the last of many expensive signings Everton made since Wayne Rooney’s departure in 2004. His move made The Toffees £25m in and David Moyes went on to smash Everton’s transfer record 4 times in as many years, spending over £40m on James Beattie, Andrew Johnson, Aiyegbeni Yakubu and Marouane Fellaini. Moyes’ ability to spend led to Champions League qualification in 2005, and UEFA Cup runs in the 07/08 season and 08/09 season, as well as an F.A. Cup Final appearance in 2009, finishing runners up to Chelsea. Last year’s finish of 7th didn’t look like it could be replicated this season, with many players hinting at a small playing team and no money to bolster it; however, an impressive January, on and off the pitch, has the ability to push Everton up the league and firing them in said direction will be Nikica Jelavic.
- “I will do my best to score many goals”
When you buy a striker the minimum you would expect from them is goals: it is their job; it is what they’re paid to do and it is what wins games. So, when Jelavic announced that he will “score many goals” Everton fans breathed a sigh of relief in unison; but, when he added further weight to the burden on his back to fire Everton to a respectable Premier League finish, by declaring that he will score “goals, goals and more goals,” in an extravagant exclamation of his finishing ability, Everton fans would be forgiven for taking his promise with a pinch of salt.
Presuming that goals – whilst also presuming Jelavic has a firm grasp on the English language – means at least two, we can expect that, by stating he will score, “goals, goals and more goals”, Everton will see their new Croatian striker score at least 6 goals. That’s excellent news considering their current top scorer this season is their left-back, Leighton Baines, with four. Seriously, however, Jelavic knows where the goal is, joining Everton on the back of a goals to game ratio of 0.65 goals per game throughout his entire Rangers career. Everton fans will be hoping Jelavic’s talk is symptomatic of his walk.
- Another International Player
Everton’s squad, a squad that club chief executive Robert Elstone had to defend, stating that “this is not an ageing, threadbare squad, portrayed by some as amongst the weakest in the Premier League” is indeed, not the weakest in the Premier League; in fact, if clubs were to be ranked by the number of active internationals in their first team, Everton would have the 20th strongest side in Europe and the 8th strongest in England’s top flight. However, there are the obvious arguments against this measure, as Celtic prove by ranking in as the 4th strongest side in Europe. Yet, a quick glance at Everton’s side shows that the standard and quality at which their international players are amongst and up against, gives weight to the argument that Everton’s team – made up by 50% of active international players – is a strong one and the four signings made in January only boost this figure from 50% to 57%.
Whilst Jelavic’s international goal-scoring record isn’t quite as prolific as his exploits in Britain – but still more fruitful than Emile Heskey’s, as well as every regular Everton striker so far this season – he’s part of a promising Croatian side that could cause an upset in Euro 2012, having beaten Turkey 3-0 over two legs in the play offs and joins countrymen Luka Modric, Nico Kranjcar and Ivan Klasnic in the Premier League. It’s something that pleases David Moyes too: “he will also want to play for Croatia in the European Championship so hopefully that will keep his form good, keep him hungry to score and play well.”
- “It is a big thing for me, a step forward”
His ambition matches his stature; a height of 6’2 sees him befitting of the Everton striker of late, with Victor Anichebe, Apostolos Vellios and Denis Stracqualursi all coming in at six feet three inches. However, his ambition could keep him, one inch shorter than his contemporaries, head and shoulders above them: “the Premier League is something on a higher level and I hope it will be good for me. I don’t think I will need time to settle.” For many players making the move across the border, it is often one that comes with much scepticism; the standards of the SPL is a hot topic season after season and many football fans deem the Premier League far superior and the step up is sometimes too much, but Jelavic recognises this: “The Scottish Premier League is not as high a level as here in England but I think it will help a lot as it is not so much a big difference.”
Undoubtedly, fans will be hoping his ability on the pitch is as prominent as his ambition and David Moyes’, a former SPL player, was well-placed to make the decision. Ultimately though, the value of Jelavic to Everton and the astuteness of the signing will become prevalent as Jelavic advances through the years he is contracted to: “In the four and a half years of my contract, I have time to learn.” Hopefully, he’ll adjust as quickly as he feels he will; score as regularly as he’s promised and satisfy the ambition he declares so strongly. For Everton’s sake he knows he has to, “I know [David Moyes] expects a lot from me and I can promise to do my best and score lots of goals.”
Written by Jordan Florit for www.maycauseoffence.com/
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