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NO REGRETS – that’s the message both on and off the pitch for David Moyes.
The Everton boss is preparing to navigate the frantic finale of another transfer window while also targeting six points from consecutive home games, and as ever during this campaign the stakes are high.
Moyes is unsure whether he will be able to complete the capture of Netherlands international midfielder Leroy Fer in order to add muscle to his bid for a top four spot, but is at least certain that his Champions League hopes would be bolstered by victory against West Brom at Goodison tonight.
And the Scot knows the next few days could be pivotal in his over-riding aims for a season which has become definitive in his 11 year Everton reign.
I felt that we are in a really strong position and could we try and strengthen that position and stay there if we can,” says Moyes as he reflects on the importance of adding to his squad before the transfer window closes coupled with a return to winning ways in the Premier League.
“I would hate to look back and think I hadn’t given that a go or made any attempt to do that.
“The squad needs help. I think the squad has done brilliant to get where it has got but it could do with one or two additions.
“We have flowed better this season though and as long as we keep grinding out results until we get back into our stride that’s important.
“But it is not through a lack of trying that we want to get back playing as well as we did in the early part of the season.
“If we pick up the points that gives us a chance of going into the last 12-14 games in a pretty strong position.”
First up for the Toffees is the clash with Steve Clarke’s men this evening, where they will hope to take the momentum from Saturday’s last-gasp FA Cup fourth-round victory over Bolton.
Everton have drawn both their last two league games without scoring, against Swansea and Southampton, but remain in fifth place and only three points off the top four.
Moyes added: “We’ve worked hard to be in a strong position in the Premier League.
“We’re slightly disappointed that we drew the last two games but it hasn’t got us in any worse position.
“We’ve now got a couple of home games and we have to try to take advantage of it. But West Brom are a tough nut to crack. They’re one of the only teams who have beaten us this season, and I think Steve Clarke’s done a really good job.
“If anybody’s turning up thinking this is a foregone conclusion, they’re quite a bit off the mark I think.
“We just have to keep ploughing on and picking up the points. January’s a long hard month, which it’s proved to be. Once we come out of this month we can maybe look to see where we’ve got to go.”
Clarke has taken to management like a duck to water and West Brom head into tonight’s match only four points behind Everton and still firmly in the hunt for European football despite a six-game winless run.
One of the Baggies’ victories came against Everton in September, and Moyes praised the job done by Clarke, previously assistant boss at Chelsea and Liverpool.
“With his experience, the managers he’s worked under and the clubs he’s been at, it was probably the right time, and I think a good club for him to join as well,” said Moyes.
“West Brom are quite a stable club, they’ve certainly got some good players. When you win the games and you get off to a good start, that definitely helps the way people perceive you, and Steve deserves that.
“I can see them certainly finishing in the top half, and I think if you’d given that to Steve at the start of the season he’d have taken it. Maybe now he’s looking for much more. He’s trying to chase us down and they’ve done really well.”
Moyes did not dismiss the possibility of adding one or two more new faces before the transfer window shuts on Thursday, but his main focus remains on the games against West Brom and Villa.
He added: “I’m always concentrating on the players we’ve got here and doing the work to prepare the team.
“My mind is mainly on the players I’ve got and not the ones I haven’t got.
“I think there are a few things rattling around, but nothing definite going on.”
Everton’s deal to sign Holland international Leroy Fer is in jeopardy after a long-standing knee injury caused concern during Tuesday's medical at Goodison Park.
Fer, who was hoping to finalise an £8.6million move from FC Twente, now faces an anxious 24 hours to see if the transfer is off.
Everton want further talks with his Dutch club regarding their initial valuation as the Merseyside club look to clarify the extent of the problem.
They have not pulled out of the signing, but it is understood they will seek more clauses in the deal to protect themselves lest the injury flared up again.
FC Twente have accused the Everton of trying to re-negotiate an agreed fee, but Everton will feel they must be cautious given the player's recent injury problems.
The stand-off between the clubs is further complicated because Twente had allocated funds to sign two replacements before the transfer deadline.
Everton will decide on Thursday whether to continue negotiations or switch to an alternative targets.
Joop Munsterman, FC Twente chairman said: "Everton have demanded additional conditions for the transfer of Leroy. They want to pay in separate instalments. We can’t agree with that. We need to buy a replacement."
Earlier, manager David Moyes was coy about discussing the signing the 23-year-old Dutchman, insisting he wanted to ensure the deal was concluded before he spoke publicly about his qualities.
Moyes insisted that any new midfield arrival did not signify the beginning of the end of Marouane Fellaini’s Goodison career.
Moyes robustly rejected the suggestion he has dipped into summer funds in the knowledge that a massive transfer fee for Fellaini will follow at the end of the season.
"I read something like that and that is the biggest load of tosh," he said. "That is nonsense whoever wrote or said it. They are different types of players. That is not the reason for trying to bringing him in, that is for sure.
"In time I will probably explain a bit better but it is correct to say the chairman has done great. He has gone out and found us some cash to use and I am certainly grateful for that."
Everton were intending to stagger the payments for Fer thanks to an enterprising negotiation similar to the deal struck last year for Nikica Jelavic.
Moyes says there is the club recognises that investing in the transfer window rather than the summer could help the club to secure a Champions League place.
"I felt that we are in a really strong position and could we try and strengthen that position and stay there if we can," said Moyes. "I would hate to look back and think I hadn’t given that a go or made any attempt to do that.
"The squad has done brilliant to get where it has got to but it could do with one or two additions."
Everton have two consecutive home games, starting against West Brom on Wednesday, which Moyes believes can offer a platform for an equally encouraging second half of the season.
"If we pick up the points that gives us a chance of going into the last 12 to 14 games in a pretty strong position," he said.
Kevin Mirallas will have a late fitness test, but a thigh problem has ruled out Seamus Coleman for the next four weeks.
DAVID Moyes has slammed talk that he is signing Leroy Fer as a replacement for Everton star Marouane Fellaini.
Moyes is waiting to rubber-stamp the deal, although problems with the medical led to Everton trying to renegotiate the £8.5m fee last night.
With Everton out to boost their top-four ambitions against West Brom tonight, Fer’s arrival on a four-and-a-half-year deal from FC Twente is a major lift.
But Moyes maintains his new box-to-box midfielder is not being signed to fill a Fellaini-shaped hole.
He said: “I read something like that and that is the biggest load of tosh I have heard. It’s nonsense.
“They are different types of players. He is a really good player but he is not signed just yet.
“Once I do get him signed, and he is sitting next to me, then I will talk about him. The chairman has done great. He has gone out and found some cash to use and I am grateful for that.
"I felt that we are in a really strong position and could try and strengthen that position and stay there if we can.
“I would hate to look back and think I hadn’t given that a go. I’ve always had great backing and never has that wavered. I’ve always tried to spend money wisely.”
Defender Seamus Coleman is facing another fortnight on the sidelines with a thigh problem.
That means Moyes’ final capture of the window could be a right-back.
Peter Odemwingie has been left out of the West Bromwich Albion squad for tonight’s game away to Everton, with Steve Clarke blaming greed for the striker’s attempt to move to Queens Park Rangers.
Odemwingie, disciplined internally for his Twitter rants over West Brom’s refusal to accept QPR’s first two bids for his services, is expected at the club’s training ground today after being allowed paternity leave to look after his wife and newly born son over the past three days.
Clarke’s frustration is as much with the player’s agents as it is with Odemwingie. The head coach believes that the 31-year-old forward’s head has been turned and, in contrast to his earlier stance that no player would be leaving The Hawthorns this month, challenged QPR to make a third bid that would satisfy West Brom. A fee of £4 million might be deemed too good to turn down for a disaffected player of Odemwingie’s age with 18 months remaining on his contract.
“It’s an unfortunate situation that didn’t have to develop,” Clarke said.
“QPR have put two bids in for Peter, the club have looked at them and turned them down. The ball’s back in QPR’s court, they have to decide whether they want to make another bid.
“Peter’s comments haven’t helped the situation, but I have to say I feel that Peter has been really badly advised. I think there have been a number of things going on behind the scenes that have maybe turned Peter’s head a little bit and that’s unfortunate for us, unfortunate for QPR and unfortunate for Peter. Where there is a lot of money there is normally a bit of greed and that is what’s driving it.”
Clarke refused to accept that Odemwingie has no future at West Brom and believes that if he remains at the club once the transfer window shuts tomorrow night, he can “get his head right” once again. “I want him to stay, there’s no shift,” Clarke said.
“I would like to think that going forward we can work together again.”
Everton are also anxious to retain their best player. David Moyes rejected suggestions that Leroy Fer, his prospective signing from Twente, is being bought to replace Marouane Fellaini.
“They are different types of players,” Moyes, the manager, said. “No, that is not the reason for bringing him in, that is for sure. He is a really good player, but he is not signed just yet.”
An issue with the Holland midfielder’s medical last night has led Everton to attempt to restructure the deal with Twente, but the club are still hoping to push through the £8.5 million transfer for the 23-year-old.