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A CLUB ON THE MOVE
Graeme Sharp, 6th November 2007 - 11:28
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In the last six months the London-based media seem to have taken great delight in linking our finest players with moves to the capital.
If you regularly read the papers you will have seen Mikel Arteta has been reportedly attracting the interest of Chelsea, West Ham have been fishing around Andrew Johnson and you can add to that stories concerning Tim Cahill and a switch to the continent.
The perfect response to such talk has been provided by the Blues' board. Each of those players has signed new long-term contracts at Goodison in the last few months.
Not only does it underline the Club's determination to keep the best players here but it also, and perhaps more tellingly, provides an insight into the perspective of those same players.
I recall much of the criticism aimed at the Club when the likes of Francis Jeffers and Wayne Rooney moved on. There was a view from certain quarters that the Club did not fight hard enough to keep such prodigious talents.
But the reality is that if a player sets his heart on a move, there is very little a club can do to prevent it. And when a player does decide it is time to move in, it is invariably because they feel they will not achieve their footballing ambitions at the club they are playing for.
By signing long-term deals at such crucial times of their career, the likes of Andrew, Tim and Mikel have made it clear they believe they have a great opportunity at Everton - they believe they are at a club well served to help them realise their goals and reach their targets.
It is that fact which provides the greatest cause for optimism when we reflect on the new contract signed this week by AJ and the deals earlier this year by the midfield duo that have, between them, monopolised the Everton Player of the Season award for the last three campaigns.
Maybe those London-based writers who have penned speculative stories about our finest players will now start to realise Everton is a club on the move and that is far from the case with its best players.
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