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Everton boss David Moyes is in a fight with AC Milan for French starlet M'Baye Niang - after the Italian giants matched their £2 million bid.
Moyes hoped that the teenage attacker would fly in for a medical at Goodison yesterday after a deal was agree for the former Arsenal-target but M'Baye's club Caen used their offer to tempt Milan into action.
Now M'Baye and his parents have to decide in the next couple of days whether to come to Merseyside or take his chances in Milan.
The M'Baye camp want a move where the exciting young talent can play and develop, so Everton still have a big chance of pulling off a transfer coup.
Liverpool will sell Charlie Adam, but have warned Everton: “He’ll cost you £5million.”
Boss Brendan Rodgers left Adam out of his squad for the Manchester City game and his money men have confirmed to interested clubs that he can go if the offer is right.
Everton boss David Moyes is keen to land Adam at the second attempt after losing out when he moved to Anfield from Blackpool, but he would like to take him cheaper to afford his wages.
And the Goodison chief is willing to wait to get the price he wants to do the deal at, although Liverpool are desperately trying to find him another club at the higher valuation.
Adam is available in the swap for Fulham's striking star Clint Dempsey, while Stoke are also interested in the sweet-passing midfielder.
However Moyes is prepared to hold on until closer to the deadline as he plays a game of poker with his Merseyside rivals.
KEVIN MIRALLAS says he is glad to be joining a team at the peak of their form, and says Everton FC’s start to the season merely reinforces the decision he made to swap Greece for Merseyside.
The Belgian international made his Blues debut as a substitute as David Moyes’ side enjoyed an excellent 3-1 win over Aston Villa on Saturday, managing 20 minutes as a replacement for Darron Gibson.
The 24-year-old, a £5.3m capture from Olympiakos, is expected to make his first start for the club in Wednesday’s League Cup tie with Leyton Orient at Goodison Park, and believes that he will benefit from linking up with a team that have started the campaign in such impressive form.
Everton have won their opening two league games for the first time since 2007, and are one of only three teams with a 100 per cent record intact.
“It’s great to come into a side that is in form,” said Mirallas. “The team is playing very good football at the moment, and that reinforces the decision that I made to come here.
“I knew I was coming to a great club, and the fact that we are playing so well at the moment is great.
“It was a fantastic moment to come on. Being 3-0 up meant that I could go on, not totally relaxed but a bit more so than I would normally be.
“My teammates didn’t stop speaking to me out there on the pitch. They were talking to me all the time and helping me out which was great.”
Mirallas had the ball in the net within minutes of his arrival into the game, only to be denied a maiden goal by a (correct) linesman’s flag.
“I don’t know whether it was offside or not,” he said.
“I couldn’t tell.
“But it certainly would have been a fantastic debut if that would have counted!
“Nevertheless, I’ll just try and keep going and try to score on Wednesday now.
“The main thing is getting into the right places.
“Time out there on the field, getting into the rhythm of the game and getting used to the pace of the game, they will all help. That is the main thing. Minutes on the field are important.”
Mirallas also revealed he had been impressed by the volume of support Everton enjoyed at Villa Park, as the travelling fans drowned out the noise from the home end.
He added: “I was already impressed with the support at Goodison Park against Manchester United, but away it was fantastic too.
“We didn’t outnumber Villa, but we outsang them, and it was great to see how many people travelled down.”
STEVEN PIENAAR says he will be able to play with less pressure having opened his Everton FC scoring account for the season in the win over Aston Villa on Saturday.
The South African’s third-minute strike set the Blues on their way to a 3-1 win at Villa Park, with Marouane Fellaini and Nikica Jelavic also on the scoresheet.
And Pienaar believes that it is important for him to chip in with goals, whilst admitting he was enjoying his role in David Moyes’ fluid attacking line up.
“I’m happy to break the duck so early in the season,” he said. “You don’t want to go too long without scoring. Hopefully I can play with a little less pressure now that the first one is out of the way.
“But it was also important to give the team a good start. That took a bit of pressure off us, and from there we silenced the crowd, which was important.
“It’s enjoyable to play. The way the manager wants us to play, we can interchange positions. You saw it against Manchester United when Felli was up front and there was a lot of running off him.
“But people like (Steven) Naismith can come in and it is good for the team, the way he plays. We don’t just play one style, which can only benefit the team.”
Pienaar insisted that it was vital that Everton built on their opening day win over Manchester United by picking up all three points in the Midlands.
He said: “It was important to follow that up. If we didn’t get the three points at Villa, then the Manchester United game would have been a waste. People would have said we can only do it against the bigger teams.
“But at Villa we showed in the way we went about our business. We did what the manager asked of us, and that was important. It was a good team performance, we were all sharp, stuck to our tasks and got the win. That was important.
“If you look at the beginning of the year, the team has had a good start.
“We finished really strong last season, but now it is time for us to be strong from beginning to end. We mustn’t get carried away, it is only two games, but if we continue our good form then who knows what the future will bring for us.”
MAROUANE FELLAINI believes Everton’s win over Manchester United on the opening weekend of the Premier League season has provided an injection of confidence into David Moyes’ side.
But the Belgian has stopped short of making any predictions as to where The Blues might end up this season, following their excellent start to the campaign.
Moyes’ men made it two wins from two at Villa Park on Saturday. They are, along with Chelsea and Swansea City, one of only three teams to maintain a 100 per cent record this season, and it is the first time they have won their opening two league games since 2007.
Fellaini, who himself has begun the campaign in sparkling form, believes the win over Manchester United at Goodison Park last week has added a new belief to Everton’s play, a belief which was clearly evident as they took Villa apart on their own turf.
“Every player has confidence because of the win over Manchester United,” said Fellaini.
“And to have the confidence to try to play well is good for the players and for the manager, and for the supporters also.
“Everybody knows their job, and knows how to give everything for the team. That is important, and that is what we have at the moment. We played well (at Villa). We had a lot of chances, scored three goals. It was a good job by us.”
He added: “It has been a good week for the team, not just for me. Ok, I scored goals but the team is the most important thing.
The question now seems to be just how far this Everton side can go.
Skipper Phil Neville believes European qualification should be the Blues’ target, but Fellaini is taking a more relaxed view.
He said: “Where could we end up? I don’t know. All we can do is take every game as it comes, try to win every game, and we will see later.”
PHIL JAGIELKA believes Everton’s first-half performance at Aston Villa was as good as David Moyes’ side have managed in some time, and believes the form of midfielder Marouane Fellaini has helped knit the team together at the start of the new season.
The Blues were in dominant form as they brushed aside a weak Villa outfit at the weekend, with goals from Steven Pienaar, Fellaini and Nikica Jelavic handing them a three-goal lead at half-time.
Karim El Ahmadi pulled a goal back for the home side, but it was in vain, and Jagielka (inset, left) believes Everton’s display in the opening 45 minutes served notice of the quality within Moyes’ side.
“The first half was as good as we’ve been for a long, long time,” said the defender.
“We created a couple of other chances that could have made the scoreline even healthier. But it’s all about the points at the moment.
“It’s well documented that we don’t start well. It normally takes us about ten games to get six points, it’s taken us two this time.
“The manager will hopefully be building on that, obviously midweek against Leyton Orient, and then an important game at the weekend as well.
“We were well worth the win at Villa. Definitely the first half, and for 10 or 15 minutes in the second half, we played some really good stuff.
“We’re a bit disappointed with the way we finished the game. We let them come on to us. But if you’d have offered us a 3-1 win at Villa I think we’d have snatched your hands off.”
Jagielka himself has been in imperious form at the start of the new season, but it is the performances of Fellaini which have been catching the eye. The Belgian followed up his match-winning display against Manchester United with another strong showing in the Midlands.
“Felli is in great form,” said Jagielka.
“He’s scored two goals but that’s not all he offers. The link up from back to front with him, bringing what we call the small playmakers into the game, has been fantastic.
“It was nice to get an assist on Saturday but I think we’ll have to give Felli most of the credit because he still had to finish it.
Jagielka added: “It’s good. We’ve got a great link-up down the left with Stevie and Bainesy. We were obviously desperate to sign Steven for that.
“(Steven) Naismith came in and caused (Villa) loads of problems with his runs and his positioning, (Leon) Osman tucked inside and showed what a great footballer he is, he kept us playing, and (Darron) Gibson was like our quarter-back in the first half. Some of the balls he put through showed his real quality.
“Hopefully we can keep the side together. And if we can keep going 1-0 up in games like we have been, and not having to chase the game, then we will continue to do well.”