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STEVEN PIENAAR has told David Moyes he wants to stay at Everton FC this summer, according to the Blues boss.
The South African midfielder was impressive once again on Saturday, creating three goals as Everton comfortably beat Fulham 4-0 in the Premier League.
Moyes was clear about his intent to re-sign the 30-year-old from Tottenham on a permanent deal when the season ends, and believes that the player's personal desire to stay on Merseyside could help a potentially fraught transfer.
"I don't know if we have, or haven't got a chance of keeping Steven Pienaar yet," he said. "We'll try after the season finishes. I'm sure we would all like to keep him, and I actually think Steven would like to stay.
"If that's the case it gives us a chance to make it happen, obviously he's owned by Tottenham Hotspur but he's told me he wants to stay.
"You can see how terrific he was against Fulham. He created two goals and all around he looks as if he enjoys his football and feels appreciated. What he does is exceptional."
Moyes was equally thrilled with the performance of striker Nikica Jelavic, who benefited from two Pienaar assits to take his tally for Everton FC to 10 goals, and the Blues boss admitted that the £5.5m fee paid to Glasgow Rangers for the Croatian was a smart piece of business.
"To sign a centre forward who scores goals in the Premier League normally costs you a bundle of cash," he said. "I remember thinking will he or won't he? And I mean this with all due respect but what would £5m get you as far as a goal scoring striker goes? You could go into the Championship and you certainly wouldn't be able to afford the best centre forward from there. He's been a really good signing.
"I don't know whether it's fair to say he's the best signing in the Premier League all year. Other people will say otherwise. But certainly for us at Everton he's given the players a real lift, and it looks like we're playing with someone who can score and lead the line. We look more potent now.
"He's unflappable. He's had a couple where he has gone through and missed, one at Swansea, but you get the feeling there are just goals in him. I could have taken him off earlier because the game seemed won, but I wanted to give him the chance to get his hat-trick."
Moyes said Jelavic's quick adjustment to life in the Premier League has been helped by his team-mates, who have made him quickly feel part of the club.
He said: "I've got to give credit to Phil Neville, Tim Cahill and the other boys. They have really helped him settle in. They took him out straight away and hopefully gave him the third degree over what was expected and so far he certainly hasn't disappointed."
The Blues remain in seventh place in the top flight, two points ahead of Liverpool, but already Moyes is beginning to ponder how to ensure next season is not hampered by the team's traditional slow start.
"I've tried everything with pre-seasons," he said. "Some teams have started the campaign very well and ended up fading away, we don't start it well and pick up. It's a hard league to be really consistent the whole way through and not have bad periods.
"Ours unfortunately tends to be the first half and then we get better. But maybe most people would have probably said Everton would be roughly where they are now.
"It fills me with confidence for the start of next season. It's always done that for me. You think, ‘Hey we're a decent team and can we keep it going and add to it?' We'll see what we can do."
STEVEN PIENAAR has pleaded with David Moyes to bring him back ‘home' to Everton.
Moyes is desperate for his board to pay the £4m to save the South African from his frustration at Spurs.
Pienaar has been a revelation since his return to Goodison, having left last January.
The winger was brought in with new cult hero Nikica Jelavic and Darron Gibson this January and the trio have played a massive part in an excellent run.
Everton have only lost three games in 20 and while Jelavic has hogged the headlines, Pienaar has arguably been just as important.
He was involved in three of the goals that destroyed a dreadful Fulham and told Moyes he is ready to make his loan move permanent.
Moyes said: "After the season finishes, I'm sure we'd like to keep him. I actually think Steven Pienaar would like to stay.
"Has he told me he wants to stay? Yes, and that makes it a chance we could make it happen but he's owned by Tottenham Hotspur.
"All round, he looks as if he enjoys his football here, where he can be appreciated and what he does is acceptable."
Jelavic has been the shrewdest signing of the season and the £5m paid to Rangers looks a steal, with the Croatian hitman adding two more goals on Saturday.
Fulham had lost their previous 18 games here and fell behind after seven minutes when Jelavic struck from the spot after Pavel Pogrebnyak handled his free-kick.
Marouane Fellaini nodded in a Pienaar corner before the loan star set up Jelavic for his 10th Toffees goal.
Moyes added: "Jelavic has given us a real lift.
"To sign a centre-forward that scores goals in the Premier League would normally cost you a bundle of cash.
"I remember thinking ‘Will he, won't he? What would £5m get you in the Premier League, in terms of a centre-forward?'
"I've got to give credit to Phil Neville, Tim Cahill and Tim Howard - all the boys - for helping him settle in. I think they took him out right away and gave him the third degree of what was expected.
"He's certainly not disappointed."
Substitute Cahill's clever finish early in the second half made it a miserable afternoon for Martin Jol, who missed the game with a chest infection.
Fulham return to Merseyside tomorrow to play Liverpool and keeper Mark Schwarzer has demanded a rapid response.
"That was probably one of our worst performances of the season, and we are not going to make excuses," he said.
"We were disorganised, and that's out of character for us.
"Some pretty harsh words were said."
During his decade in charge, David Moyes has tested nearly every ruse to find a solution to his side's early-season afflictions - trips to Austria, America and Australia all before a ball has been kicked with good reason, have ultimately proven immediately unproductive in terms of league results.
After the 4-0 dismantling of Fulham here Moyes joked that next August, Magaluf might be an appropriate destination "for a right good night".
There may be some method to this notion. Moyes explained that on joining Everton in January, Nikica Jelavic was cordially "taken out", by a group of players led by Phil Neville and Tim Cahill, where the values and expectations of the club were illustrated to the Croatian. His form has been spectacular since - another two goals against Fulham taking him to 10 in 13 games. Jelavic, insists Moyes, makes his team appear as if they "are playing with a centre forward". Previously, they did not.
Privately, though, Moyes must realise that as usual, Everton's problem is fiscal, especially the timing of funding being available. Rather than making most of his signings on the final day of a transfer window - or when one of his own key players has been sold - he would surely appreciate being able to secure his incoming targets before the Premier League kicks off. That would not give Everton a head start; it would merely mean parity with the other clubs that usually finish around them.
If such a hope becomes a reality, then Steven Pienaar would be right at the top of his list. It helps that the South African has informed Moyes he wants to remain at Goodison Park beyond the end of his loan spell.
"I actually think Steven Pienaar would like to stay," Moyes said before revealing he has, indeed, had productive conversations with the midfielder. "If that's the case there's a chance we could make it happen. But he's owned by Tottenham Hotspur."
Pienaar is not slow, far from it, but he does not have the speed that Harry Redknapp demands of his Tottenham wide players. His swiftness of thought, however, is in advance of those he used to call a team-mate at White Hart Lane and that was evident against Fulham as he contributed with three assists, one for Jelavic - who also scored a penalty - one for Marouane Fellaini and another for substitute Cahill.
"He was terrific today," Moyes concluded. "All around, he looks as if he enjoys his football here, where he can be appreciated and what he does is acceptable."