The views on this page are taken from the local and national media and do not necessarily reflect the views of Everton.
DAVID MOYES is banking on a financial deal he would rather forget to make Everton a Premier League power this season.
The careful Scot usually makes every penny in the transfer kitty count, but Moyes rode roughshod over his instincts to recapture Steven Pienaar.
The South African midfielder is back at Goodison at a premium rate after an uninspired spell at Tottenham.
Everton boss Moyes — preparing for tomorrow’s opener against Manchester United — admitted: “I was delighted to get Steven back, although financially it wasn’t so good for us.
“We tend to do good deals at Everton but we had to buy Steven back for more than we sold him — and he was a year older.”
Moyes allowed Pienaar, now 30, to join Spurs for £3million but ended up shelling out £4.5m to sign him again — on better wages than he had previously been paid.
The boss said: “We knew when last season finished that we had to bring Steven Pienaar back to Everton — really at any cost.”
Everton's previous seasons have seen the Merseyside club struggle to find their feet, before eventually settling and improving as the season progresses. This time around, however, Toffees boss David Moyes wants his side to deliver a fast start and give them real momentum at the start of their Barclays Premier League campaign.
The Toffees have made a habit of beginning poorly and having to salvage their campaign after Christmas but for once Moyes is optimistic that may change.
He admits he has tried various approaches over the years to ensure the squad hit the ground running and this summer he has again made a couple of tweaks.
But what he feels will be more significant is, in contrast to previous seasons when business has been done late on, he already has two important key players on board in Steven Naismith and Steven Pienaar.
"I have always thought if you can get your recruitment done early it does make a big difference to what you do," said the Scot, who is still looking to bring in a couple more players before the end of the transfer window.
"I am happy we've got a couple in with Naismith and Pienaar, so from that point of view we have done our business a little bit there.
"We have tried a couple of things (in pre-season) and we are always trying to look to make things better and improve.
"Some things haven't been as good as they should have been but I'm content with the group of players I have."
Last season Everton took just seven points from their first seven matches but, coincidentally, still managed to finish seventh - ahead of city rivals Liverpool for the first time since 2005.
That has been a familiar story over recent campaigns and their start is no easier this time around as Manchester United, who lost out on a 20th league title to neighbours City on goal difference with almost the final kick of the season, are the visitors to Goodison Park on Monday.
"Over the years we have had many strange starts to the season, mainly not particularly good ones, but you can't dismiss where we tend to finish," added Moyes.
"Where we tend to finish is where most people and pundits would probably put Everton.
"We will try to get off to a good start and try to be up at the top if we can but the opposition we have got are very hard.
"Our supporters know we will play the best we can and we will make it as competitive as we have over the years for Manchester United.
"It is a great opening game for us and I am really looking forward to getting started.
"I was excited with the way we finished last season and I have roughly the same team and that gives me good optimism."
Moyes dismissed the suggestion, however, that his side cost United the title last season with their late 4-4 draw at Old Trafford in April and that Sir Alex Ferguson's side would be looking for revenge for that.
"If you look at what we did last year we were only able to take a point off Manchester United and we took three points off City," he added.
"We have to try to improve on that this year and look to take more points.
"I would hope our players raise their game for every match but I think Manchester United are a special club with special traditions so I could see why things could change.
"But I would hope we could perform as well in every game rather than in one game against United."
Tottenham have entered the race to sign Manchester City winger Adam Johnson.
The 25-year-old England midfielder, who was handed a starting role by Roy Hodgson in the friendly win over Italy on Wednesday, has fallen well down the pecking order at City.
Johnson admits he needs to play more regular football and will seek clarity from Roberto Mancini before deciding where his future lies.
Sunderland have been leading the chase for his signature but are looking at a loan deal, while West Ham, Liverpool and Everton are also maintaining an interest.
And Spurs are the latest club to make an inquiry, according to The Times.
The former Middlesbrough ace won the title with Manchester City last season and has two more years on his contract but has not started a Barclays Premier League game since March.
Johnson said after playing 90 minutes for England: 'I’m the kind of player that needs to be playing regularly. Any player does really, no matter what age they are. I need to play week-in week-out.
'You can’t just go into one game after not having played for five and be expected to perform. I’m not sure if I’ll get that chance at City.'
DAVID MOYES is banking on the worst financial deal he has made in a decade at Everton to provide the spark for success this season.
The careful Scot treats Everton’s transfer kitty like his own cash but broke his golden rule to make sure Steven Pienaar, 30, will be supplying the bullets for Nikica Jelavic.
Croatian find Jelavic is a prime example of Moyes’ super thrift – the £5.5million bargain buy from Rangers leads the Everton line tomorrow against £22m strike ace Robin van Persie.
But it is South African midfielder Pienaar, back at Goodison after an unhappy spell at Tottenham, whose transfer this summer made Moyes shelve all his good housekeeping instincts.
The Everton boss, accustomed to tight purse-strings for ten years, said: “I was delighted to get Steven back although financially it wasn’t a good deal for us.
“We tend to do good deals at Everton – like Jelavic’s – but we had to buy Steven back for more than we sold him and he was a year older.
“It’s not normally the sort of thing we would do but overall he was integral to what we do. The supporters wanted him and we wanted him as a team. So we had to bring him back – we needed him. For once in a deal we had to close our eyes a little bit and just get on with it.”
Moyes had allowed Pienaar to join Tottenham’s Champions League challenge for £3m – but the former Ajax and Borussia Dortmund winger failed to settle under Harry Redknapp – and Moyes ended up shelling out £4.5m to get him back on better wages than he had previously been paid.
He admitted: “It wasn’t the best deal we’ve ever done but we knew when the season finished we had to bring Steven back to Everton – really at any cost. We’d have to do it.
“It wasn’t that we missed him badly, it was when we got him back we realised what we were missing. It made such a difference to the team and the atmosphere.”
Jelavic hit 11 goals in 12 starts last season and Moyes added: “That’s incredible, he’s a 20-goal striker if he keeps up that ratio – and Pienaar is the supplier.”