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What The Papers Say - 29 April

by Matthew Gamble @efc_mattgamble

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Daily Star on Sunday 

CHELSEA are ready to make a stunning £32million raid on Everton.

The Champions League finalists want two midfielders from Goodison - Belgium's Marouane Fellaini and England prospect Ross Barkley.

They are prepared to pay £22m for Fellaini, 24, who signed a five-year contract at Goodison five months ago.

Fellaini is Everton's record signing at £15m from Standard Liege.

And Chelsea would also sign Barkley, 18, for £10m and then loan him back to Everton if Goodison boss David Moyes would agree to the deal.

The proposed double swoop comes hot on the heels of the news that Chelsea have already agreed to sign Germany midfielder Marko Marin, 23, from Werder Bremen.

And it underlines that Chelsea are already making plans for next season despite their managerial situation remaining unclear, as Roberto Di Matteo continues as a successful interim boss.

But they will face competition for their Everton targets - from Manchester United in particular.

United have been monitoring the progress of Barkley, an England Under-21s international.

And they have also been linked with Fellaini, who was magnificent in last Sunday's 4-4 draw at Old Trafford.

Sunday TelegraphMerseyside: that unforgiving land, exclusively yielding misery for Fulham since football began.

The west Londoners have never won a league match at either Goodison Park or Anfield and that record was never going to improve here; not with Everton playing like this; not with Nikica Jelavic, the brilliant 26 year-old, looking like he might score with every touch.

As with any of David Moyes's teams, the result was not secured just because of the labours of one player. Everton were cohesive in every area of the field and utterly dominant. The vibrant contribution of Steven Pienaar who, like Jelavic, arrived at the club on the final day of the January transfer window, was just as crucial, as he assisted with three of the goals.

Yet Jelavic has now scored 10 times in 13 games. He has already become a reference point for his side. Evertonians revere their strikers and this one has all the qualities of past favourites: the precision finishing of Gary Lineker, the intelligence in movement of Peter Beardsley and the clout of Graeme Sharp. He is already the most complete striker the club have had in the past two decades, possibly beyond.

"Steven's given us the creativity, Niccy's given us the goals and Darron Gibson has given us a bit of stability. All of the signings have helped," Moyes said.

Jelavic's exploits, however, meant the points were secured by half-time. Fulham manager Martin Jol, stricken by a chest infection, remained at home, and he would have despaired at the idle display of his players. It was end-of-season stuff and in Jol's place, first-team coach Billy McKinlay, offered a damning assessment. "It was a long afternoon," he said. "We lost poor goals and we were nowhere near the levels we're capable of."

Everton's opener came when Jelavic struck a free-kick and Pavel Pogrebnyak raised a hand. Referee Phil Dowd awarded a penalty, which Jelavic converted with ease. After Jelavic hit a post, Marouane Fellaini extended the lead. At 6ft 4in and with his bushy hair, the Belgian is hardly inconspicuous, but he rose unmarked from a Pienaar corner, his header bypassing an unruly swipe on the line by Damien Duff. Everton's confidence was absolute. With Tony Hibbert warped into a wing-back, whipping crosses into the box with regularity, a considerable lead seemed inevitable.

The third goal came when, marginally offside, Jelavic rounded Mark Schwarzer. The Australian regained his composure but Jelavic fired into the net, low in-between the goalkeeper's legs. Tim Cahill added a fourth when he seized upon another Pienaar burst from midfield and toe-poked home in front of the Gwladys Street.

Sunday Mirror

 

Nikica Jelavic landed the old one-two on floundering Fulham, whose performance won’t have cheered up absent boss Martin Jol.

Jol didn’t travel with his side yesterday because of a chest infection – and a double helping of Everton ‘Jelly’ will not have improved his mood.

Fulham coach Billy McKinlay admitted: “I’m not looking forward to telling the boss about the game, that’s for sure.

“We started poorly, gave away poor goals and didn’t get the result we were wanting.”

Jelavic despatched an early penalty, then angled home his second through the legs of exposed Fulham keeper Mark Schwarzer.

It meant the £5million buy from Rangers in January has now notched nine goals in his last seven run-outs.

Marouane Fellaini chalked up his second goal in two matches in between Jelavic’s strikes. Just like last week at Old Trafford, Fellaini proved to be hair and shoulders above everyone else.

This time the Belgian struck with a powerful header from a Steven Pienaar corner.

But it was Jelavic who took the eye with his double.

For his opener, the Croatian won the spot-kick when he attempted to float a free-kick over the Fulham defensive wall.

Russian hitman Pavel Pogrebnyak put his hand up by his head and the ball made contact.

Referee Phil Dowd had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.

For Jelavic’s second, the influential Pienaar again proved to be the provider, his through pass finding the Croatian who threaded his shot through the legs of the keeper and past helpless Aaron Hughes, who was standing on the goal-line.

Poor old Fulham were left three down after 40 minutes, and with a mountain to climb to try to resurrect their hopes of a record high finish in their 11th season in the Premier League.

Tim Cahill scored a fourth for Everton, who have now notched an awesome foursome in each of their last three league outings.

Once more, it was January loan signing Pienaar who set up the goal.

He received the ball from Cahill, then chipped the Fulham defence, for the fast-advancing Cahill to poke past Schwarzer.

Fulham had a few flurries, with Kerim Frei forcing keeper Tim Howard to palm over his first-half effort.

Clint Dempsey saw his best attempt to get to 23 goals for the campaign deflected by Johnny Heitinga, with Howard pushing the shot on to the bar.

Everton boss David Moyes said: “There was lots of confidence out there and the team is playing well, arguably without our best player, Leighton Baines, who is injured.

“I have to give great credit to the players we brought in.

“Steven Pienaar has given us greater creativity, Jelavic has given us the goals – and Darron Gibson has given us stability.”

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