What The Papers Say - Feb 15
The press report on Junior's arrival and other Blues news.
The views on this page are taken from the local and national media and do not neessarily reflect the views of Everton.
Everton have signed the 20-year-old former Benfica academy graduate Francisco Junior on a free transfer.
The midfielder, who has been capped twice by Portugal Under-21s and spent some time in Manchester City's development squad earlier this season, has signed a four-and-a-half year deal, subject to receiving international clearance.
Everton midfielder Seamus Coleman's return from injury has given manager David Moyes another timely boost.
The Toffees are on a high after back-to-back home wins over Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester City and Chelsea.
And Coleman's goalscoring return for the reserves more than a month after being sidelined with a thigh problem provides more good news as the club look to maintain progress in both the league and FA Cup.
Teenager Ross Barkley, who made such an impact in the first two months of the season but has not featured since November 26 because of a knee problem, also stepped up his bid for full fitness with a run out and goal in the 6-3 win over Newcastle at the club's Finch Farm training complex.
The 18-year-old has made a couple of appearances for the academy side in the last fortnight and was named on the bench for the first-team games against City and Chelsea but remained unused.
Rodwell, who has made only three appearances since November, was in training last week until he suffered a setback.
However, Jagielka's return was scheduled for late February/early March and the defender is looking forward to edging closer to first-team involvement.
"It has probably been the longest January ever but I have got over that and am out of the brace and starting to do more in training as well," said the centre-back, who has not played since damaging medial knee ligaments in the defeat to Bolton on January 4.
"I have had Ossie (Leon Osman) for company which has been good and we'll hopefully be stepping it up in the next couple of weeks. I am getting there.
"We are itching to get back - although we'll probably be sat on the bench or in the stand the way the team are playing at the moment."
In the time Jagielka and Osman, who has also been out since January 4 after having a piece of floating bone removed from his knee, have been sidelined the whole atmosphere at the club appears to have been transformed.
The arrivals of Manchester United midfielder Darron Gibson and Rangers striker Nikica Jelavic on permanent deals and the loan signings of Landon Donovan and Steven Pienaar have given everyone a lift and that has been reflected in performances.
Even striker Denis Stracqualursi, a loan signing in the summer, has started to look like he has found his feet in recent weeks.
Jagielka acknowledges the change which has taken place in a short time.
"The whole team looks different and they look brilliant every game," he told evertontv.
"We have added quality in January - Nikica has not played much yet - but Denis is like a new signing, the raging bull up front chasing everything down and he has got himself a couple of goals.
"The back four are doing fantastically - they have changed around in the last month or so - and hopefully we can have a much better second half of the season to the first.
"It proves what a good team we've got."
David Moyes has admitted he won’t insult LA Galaxy by asking to keep Landon Donovan beyond his short-term loan.
But the Everton boss has paved the way for a return in 2013 by the American.
Donovan arrived in the US off season and helped the Blues out of their festive season slump with inspiring displays.
But he plays his last game this weekend and Moyes revealed: “If we could have had him longer, we would have done.
"I wouldn’t be asking, because Galaxy have been good enough to give us this time with him.
"I don’t want to ruin that relationship.”
EVERTON FC hope they have unearthed the next Ramires after signing highly-rated midfielder Francisco Junior on a four-and-a-half-year deal.
As revealed in Saturday’s Echo, the Blues moved quickly for the 20-year-old after learning he was a free agent, and were waiting to resolve some red-tape issues before completing a deal for the Portugal U-21 international.
Junior, whose real name is Francisco Santos Da Silva Junior, is a livewire box to box midfielder who, like Chelsea and Brazil star Ramires, made his name at Portuguese giants Benfica.
“I feel very happy to have joined Everton,” he said. “It’s a great challenge and now I just want to show my talent to the fans.”
“I really like the players, there are many famous players here and I think they can help me develop my talent. I also feel very good about the supporters. I saw the game against Chelsea and the fans had so much passion for the club.
"I can see it is a family club and I want to play for those fans.
“The training ground is right up there too, it’s a top facility and Everton is a top, top club.”
Junior’s performances for Benfica’s youth team alerted Manchester City’s vast network of global scouts last year, and the Guinea-Bissau-born player was lured to the league leader’s elite development squad.
Despite impressing in a series of academy games, the Etihad club have dragged their feet about offering him a contract and that alerted Everton scouts.
Toffees coaches ran the rule over him during a behind-closed-doors friendly at Finch Farm on Saturday, and saw enough to convince them he was worth a long-term deal.
Junior, who will wear number 30, has already been training with his new team-mates this week after completing a medical and agreeing personal terms.
The Blues got in first ahead of a clutch of other top European clubs who wanted to sign the right-footed midfielder, who has been capped twice by Portugal at Under-21 level.
And he has already set his sights on being involved in European football with Everton. “My first mission is to try to get into the first team. Then it is to win over the fans and to win things with Everton,” he said. “They’re a big team and they’re a team which is normally challenging for cups or for the European places. That is what I want to do.”
“It’s difficult for me to say what my qualities are – I’d prefer to show the fans and then after have them tell me what my qualities are or not.
“But I’m coming here to show my football, in every training session I will give everything, and when I have an opportunity to play I will do so with lots of heart.
“I like to play beautiful football, I like to touch the ball and I like to play both defensively and in attack. I can play both ways and with both feet.”
EVERTON will have an allocation of 1,700 tickets for next month’s trip to QPR, after the London club played hardball over sale or return seats.
The Blues were offered 1,700 sale or return, or 3,000 tickets on a guaranteed sale only basis by QPR.
Having hosted eight home games in the last nine weeks, and with adult tickets for the away clash costing £40 and £45, Everton suggested a revised sales figure of between 1,700 and 3,000.
This was rejected by Rangers. A club spokesman said: "We are disappointed but accept and respect Rangers’ decision."