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What The Papers Say - 17 May

by Matthew Gamble @efc_mattgamble

The views on this page are taken from the local and national media and do not necessarily reflect the view of Everton.

The Echo

EVERTON FC should move quickly to finally resolve Sylvain Distin's future - because the super-fit French defender can continue playing until he is 40, says Louis Saha.

The 34-year-old's current Goodison deal expires this month, with a one-year extension as yet un-signed despite rumours it was on the brink of being wrapped-up weeks ago.

Distin has previously expressed a desire to stay on Merseyside, and forged a formidable centre-back partnership with John Heitinga since the turn of the year that helped Everton finish seventh in the Premier League and progress in the FA Cup.

Former team-mate Saha believes his compatriot just gets better with age, and can continue as a mainstay of David Moyes' rearguard for many years.

He said: "Sylvain is not normal. He is a superhuman like a cyborg. Believe me he works very hard in every training session - that's the norm at Everton anyway and he goes beyond that.

"He's a very fit guy and he will go on to play for many seasons - maybe even more than five. I know he enjoys it at Everton and would like to carry on playing there."

Distin received the accolade of Everton's players' player of the season last week, and Saha says it was a deserved reward - especially after the heart-break of his error in the FA Cup semi final defeat by Liverpool which resulted in Luis Suarez' equaliser.

"I was very disappointed for him in the semi-final," says the 33-year-old striker.

"He would simply break his leg for every single player in the team.

"He has a good heart and gives his all for the team but I don't think the defeat was down to him."

Meanwhile, Leighton Baines has spoken of his delight at being named in the England squad for Euro 2012.

The Everton FC defender was confirmed as part of Roy Hodgson's 23-man party for the tournament in Poland and Ukraine yesterday.

He said: "Obviously I'm really pleased. It's one of those things where you're hanging on waiting to get confirmation that you've had the nod, so it's just nice really to be able to put that to bed now and start to focus on the tournament.

"I'm away so I was waiting on maybe a call or a text from someone from the FA but in the end I got a text off Jags saying ‘congratulations' and when I text him back he just told me that the squad had been announced and that I was in."

Baines admitted he is disappointed for team-mate Phil Jagielka, who missed out on inclusion in the full squad.

"He will be disappointed," he added. "I suppose he's just clinging to that bit of hope now that he is involved and that there is a chance.

"I think our manager (David Moyes) said recently he's one of, if not the best English centre-half in the country - and I don't think many people would disagree with that. So he's probably a bit unfortunate not to make the cut."

Daily Mail

Sunderland are lining up a bid for Tottenham midfielder Steven Pienaar.

The South African has impressed on loan back at former club Everton, who are expected to try to sign him on a permanent deal over the summer.

But Tottenham want £5million for the 29-year-old and Everton may struggle to raise the funds immediately, with Sunderland believing they can step in.

Aston Villa may also be interested if Roberto Martinez, who tried to sign Pienaar on loan in January, takes over at Villa Park.

Daily Mail

Everton manager David Moyes has set his sights on a cut-price move for Rangers star Steven Naismith.

The Scotland international had a release clause of £2million inserted in his contract after accepting a swingeing 75-per-cent wage cut in February.

And, subject to further talks with Goodison chairman Bill Kenwright, Moyes hopes to be handed the funds to reunite Naismith with Nikica Jelavic, the scorer of 11 goals in 16 games following his £5.5m capture in January.

West Brom have made known their interest in taking Naismith to The Hawthorns but have baulked at the player's wage demands.

Following recommendations from Jelavic, who described Naismith as the best strike partner he has ever had, and Goodison coach David Weir, Moyes is said by Merseyside sources to be a ‘huge fan' of the player, although he may have to release funds from sales of his current first-team squad before turning his attention to the Scotland international.

The player himself is open to talks with  the new Charles Green consortium, who are  seeking to complete an £8.5m deal for Rangers and hold on to a raft of the club's high-earning players.

With wages due to return to normal levels on June 1, however, and concerns over a funding gap, the likelihood remains of top earners leaving.

Continental clubs are circling around Northern Irishman Kyle Lafferty, while Naismith remains non-committal.

He said: ‘I have no say over who takes over the club or what happens in business terms, but I have a three-year contract.

‘It really is that simple. Now, things can change and I can have decisions to make. But it will still be in my control.'

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