Next Match:

Stoke City (A) Wed 4 Mar 2015, 19:45, Barclays Premier League


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Liverpool Echo

EVERTON are unlikely to try to bring USA international Landon Donovan to Goodison on loan for a third time in January.

The Blues have previously turned to the LA Galaxy forward, in 2010 and January this year, when David Moyes felt his pace and goal threat down the flanks would be a useful addition.

And while Donovan, 30, proved in his latest spell that age has not diminished his ability, the £5.5m signing of right-sided attacker Kevin Mirallas from Olympiakos in the summer has lessened the need to move for the US national team’s all-time leading goalscorer again next month.

It is also believed that Donovan would in any case be unlikely to feel like using his time after the MLS season to keep fit by playing in the Premier League as he has in the past.

Reports from America have suggested the player feels exhausted and burned-out after a season when he scored in the final to bag the Galaxy a second successive MLS Cup, despite battling knee and hamstring problems.

That final against Houston Dynamo in October was the Californian’s 49th game in 48 weeks, and in an interview with the LA Times he suggested he may be ready for a prolonged break from the game.

“I’m going to take as much time as I need and decide if and when I’m ready to come back,” he said. “I can’t put a time frame on that. If it takes two weeks and I’m ready to go again or two months or a year or two years.

“Or never. I don’t know. I’m aware of what I’m feeling, what I’m going through,” he said. “And if I wake up one day and I say ‘you know what? I’m going to come back and play,’ then I’ll be here within an hour. If that doesn’t happen, if I wake up and I say ‘you know what? That’s enough,’ then I’ll let the people know who need to know and I’ll get on with my life.”

Liverpool Echo

STOKE City forward Jonathan Walters insists he will have no split loyalties as he prepares to face the side he supports on Saturday.

Boyhood Evertonian Walters says his only aim when the Blues visit the Britannia stadium will be to help Tony Pulis' men take three points.

“Obviously, I will be doing everything I can to help Stoke get the three points,” said the Birkenhead-born striker.

“After the game I will be hoping that Everton can go on and enjoy a good season, apart from our return fixture of course.

“It’s a funny one for the family in some ways because they will be here at the game, and like me, my brothers and dad are Everton supporters, but for this one I’m sure they will be willing me and Stoke on.

“Well, I’m hoping so anyway.”

Liverpool Echo

EVERTON will have to wait until the New Year to find out whether they must pay a fee for Steven Naismith.

The 25-year-old Scotland international signed for the Blues in the summer after deciding not to transfer to the Rangers newco in the wake of the Ibrox giants’ financial melt-down.

Naismith and his former team mate Steven Whittaker chose to use their right under European employment law to move on and join Premier League clubs, but the businessman who bought Rangers, Charles Green, insists the newco is entitled to transfer fees for the players.

Green’s case will go before a Glasgow arbitration tribunal in January, with initial legal discussions expected to begin early in the month.

However the ECHO understands that Scottish legal experts are sceptical over the chances of Green’s bid being successful, and even if it is there is doubt over whether the Blues would have to pay a fee in the £1.5m region as has been mooted.

Green paid £5.5m for Rangers when he took the club over, with an estimated £3.5m of that based on the entire former playing squad – casting doubt on how one player such as Naismith, could represent such a huge slice of that figure.

Naismith, who has scored three goals for the Toffees as he seeks to fully recover from a knee ligament injury he suffered last year, is not – despite reports earlier this week – taking any private action against the Rangers newco.

Some reports stated that the former Kilmarnock striker was suing his old club for constructive dismissal, but that is not the case.

Neither is he one of 67 unnamed current and former Rangers players apparently involved in legal action against the club, as revealed in a share rights prospectus.

Naismith is focussing on Everton’s bid to continue their impressive recent form by beating Stoke at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday, a task which his team-mate Tim Howard admits won’t be straightforward.

Tony Pulis’ side currently sit in a healthy ninth position in the Premier League table and are six matches unbeaten.

The Potters have the meanest defence in the Premier League and have conceded just twice on home soil all season.

“Stoke is a tough nut to crack,” said Howard. “They've been in the Premier League for quite a number of years now and it just doesn't seem that we've gotten very good results there. So the tide needs to turn and it needs to turn this weekend.

“We’ll certainly do everything we can to fix that. They're playing well at home, they've been stingy and not given too much away, so it could be nip and tuck. But we've shown that we can be resilient as well.”

Daily Post

EVERTON again showed their powers of recovery to come from behind to get a result for the eighth time this season. It was a crucial win given that a Spurs victory would have seen us six points off the pace in the race for fourth spot.

We had more territory with 52.9% final third possession to Spurs 47.1% which led to us having 20 shots to Spurs 12.

The first half was all about us attacking down the right flank. Recently sides have targeted Spurs defensively frail left side and with Dempsey not holding his position when Spurs were off the ball we repeatedly engineered two-v-ones down this flank with Coleman and Mirallas giving Vertonghen the run around. Coleman had his best game for a while and was involved in both goals.

Spurs played a high line with an unconvincing offside trap which meant the ‘out-ball’ into the wide alleys from Gibson was always on. The Irishman was the best player on the pitch with his quick long passes from central to wide areas putting constant pressure on spurs full backs. Gibson registered a pass completion rate of 96.3% in Spurs’ half - the highest of any player on the pitch - and 92.3% completion in the final third. Crucially, it was Gibson’s pass which led to the winning goal and a welcome return to goal scoring form for Jelavic with mayhem ensuing within the Old Lady as the Croatian showed superb anticipation to follow in an acrobatic flick from sub Velios.

Thoughts will now turn to an agricultural double header against serial cloggers Stoke and West Ham.

Stoke have been a bogey side for us with our last three visits to the Britannia yielding no wins and just one goal. Goalscoring wise, Stoke continue to be one dimensional but the key difference this season has been how they have tightened what was already a secure defensive operation; the Potters have kept the most clean sheets in the top flight and have shipped just two goals from seven home games so far.

Moyes will have a plan in place to stop their rhythm at the source from keeper Begovic and his booming kick outs. Last season Jelavic was deployed on the keeper’s toes to force him to kick from his hands and not off the floor where he is stronger whilst Fellaini played deeper and was tasked with winning aerials and second balls from kick outs. Winning the territory battle and playing high up the pitch to deny Stoke good angles for crosses will be crucial if we are to shut them out and secure another positive result.

Daily Mail

Steven Naismith has maintained he will not back down from his legal dispute with Rangers and instead insisted he owes the Ibrox club nothing.

The Everton star is one of a posse of former players defending themselves against legal action brought by Ibrox chief executive Charles Green after they quit the club on free transfers in the summer.

Green wants the new clubs of Naismith, Steven Whittaker, Jamie Ness, Sone Aluko  and Kyle Lafferty to pay compensation for signing players who walked out after objecting to their contracts being switched from the  Rangers oldco to the newco.

The Ibrox club will learn  in January if they have the right to pursue  compensation via the SFA. If that is unsuccessful, Green has threatened to pursue the cash via the courts.

Unable to have their international clearance certificates transferred to their new clubs in the meantime, Aluko, Lafferty and Ness are counter-suing the Ibrox club for ‘constructive dismissal’.

Naismith says he wants no part in suing Rangers but is determined to defend himself from legal threats.

And, despite accepting a 75-per-cent wage cut when the club entered administration, he insists he is not after a penny.

‘I think 90 per cent of people that talk about this don’t know half of what happened,’ said Naismith in Glasgow.

‘I took legal advice and made the decisions I made.

‘I’m not looking to go after the club for money for 90 days’ pay or anything like that — it’s not something I’ve thought about or been interested in.
‘There’s so much going on, so many different cases.

‘People think it’s one big thing and everyone’s name gets thrown in the pot.

‘People want to say things as they think they know everything. But the people closest to me know what happened — and what’s gone on, on my part anyway.

‘You’re never going to make everyone happy.’

Taking advice from lawyers, Naismith admitted the prospect of counter-suing Rangers was raised.

Already unable to walk through the door at Ibrox amid the bitterness, he opted instead to concentrate on his new career at Everton.

And, frustrated that fans rarely mention the financial sacrifices players made when they took substantial wage cuts to keep others in their jobs, Naismith insists he never intended to leave Rangers and would still have been there but for financial meltdown in February.

‘In a couple of years, people will look back and say they did that (wage cuts) for the good of the club,’ he said. ‘People might think there were other agendas or we were only doing it for certain reasons, but the players know what we were trying to do at the outset. That was to try to stop the club from getting liquidated.’

The Sun

DAVID MOYES is set to splash £15million on a pair of French strikers.

Everton’s boss is keen to bring in Paris Saint-Germain’s Kevin Gameiro and Wissam Ben Yedder from Toulouse during January to beef up his side’s challenge for a Champions League place.

The Merseysiders are fourth in the Premier League and have already started talks in France after scouting the pair for months.

Gameiro, 25, has not been a regular starter for PSG since they signed Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic last summer.

But he hit 14 goals last term and has eight caps for France.

The Qatari-owned club are willing to sell but want to recoup most of the £9million they paid Lorient 18 months ago.

French Under-21 international Ben Yedder, 22, has a deal until 2015 and Toulouse are unwilling to let him go for less than £6million.

He is their top scorer this season with nine goals in 16 Ligue One games.

Daily Mirror

Everton are ready to take England defender Joleon Lescott back to Goodison Park.

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has lost faith in centre-back Lescott, who cost the club a staggering £24million three years ago under his predecessor Mark Hughes.

And that news will spark a January transfer scramble which could allow Everton to snap up TWO top French stars.

Mancini will attempt to bring in a centre-half in January, with his long shopping list including names such as Paris Saint-Germain's French international Mamadou Sakho and summer-window targets Daniel Agger of Liverpool and Newcastle's Fabricio Coloccini.

Toffees boss David Moyes has made no secret of his desire to bring 30-year-old Lescott back to the club, and admitted recently he would be interested in a loan deal in the window if the player became available.

The stumbling block would, obviously, be money - not only that £24m fee but also Lescott's City salary of around £90,000 a week.

The champions would be happy to get a fringe player on such a large wage off the books, but would have to pay part of his salary to facilitate a move to Everton and, ultimately, take a massive loss on the deal, which would prove an embarrassment following the acrimonious way they got their man in 2009.

Lescott though, would be an ideal capture for Moyes, who is desperate to strengthen his squad as he looks to make a concerted push for a Champions League place.

The manager believes Everton now have a very real chance of a top four place, especially if they can bring in a couple of new faces to give the squad fresh impetus.

Moyes wants to keep hold of prize asset Marouane Fellaini in January, despite interest from Chelsea and Manchester United, but would be willing to sell defender John Heitinga in a bid to raise funds - and signing Lescott on loan could allow that to happen.

Heitinga has been targeted by Galatasary, who could pay as much as £7million for the Dutch international and Moyes has already identified a use for the money - TWO French international strikers.

The Mirror understands Moyes has been involved in extensive talks over a deal to bring in striker Kevin Gameiro from Paris Saint-Germain and has also offered around £5million for Toulouse and former France U21 forward Wissam Ben Yedder.

Everton scouts have watched the pair regularly in recent months, and talks are already at an advanced stage with their respective clubs.

Gameiro, 25, has been capped eight times by France, but has fallen out of favour at PSG following the summer signing of Swedish superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Coach Carlo Ancellotti will allow him to move on if the club can recoup the £7million they paid Lorient for his services 18 months ago.

Ben Yedder, 22, is top scorer at Toulouse this season with nine goals in 16 games, and has been identified as one of the top young talents in France.

He is available for around £6m, and Moyes believes he can get both men if he raises enough from the sale of Heitinga.

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