What The Papers Say
A summary of Thursday's Everton stories.
The views on this page are taken from the local and national media and do not necessarily reflect the views of Everton.
CROATIAN international Danijel Pranjic claims he only joined Sporting Lisbon because he could not wait for Everton FC to confirm their interest in him.
The 31-year-old left sided midfielder says he had been made aware that David Moyes was still pondering a move for him this summer, after his old club Bayern Munich blocked a switch to Goodison Park in January.
But eager not to be left in the lurch if that transfer could not be revived he joined the Portuguese giant.
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He said: “David Moyes publicly announced that he wanted me at Everton. But then I got a feeling that things were moving too slow and I didn’t want to wait anymore.
“I could have waited until the end of August but then Sporting knocked on my door and I knew right away that this is what I want.
“I could also have gone to Besiktas but Sporting was such a good option for me that I couldn’t say no.”
Pranjic signed a three-year deal with Sporting last Friday, and Everton’s interest in him was likely to have been peripheral anyway, with the Blues still focused on tying up a permanent deal for Steven Pienaar.
Speculation had mounted that the South African’s return was set to be completed yesterday, but Toffees chairman Bill Kenwright was still negotiating with his Spurs counterpart Daniel Levy over terms.
APOSTOLOS Vellios insists he is desperate to impress David Moyes by continuing his goal-scoring form in pre-season.
The 20-year-old Greek striker scored in Everton’s friendly opener on Saturday, a coolly-taken goal in the 4-1 win over Morecambe.
And now he wants to build on that momentum, and continue to bid for further first team action next term after last season saw him named the club’s young player of the season.
Vellios, who hopes to get more minutes under his belt during tonight’s friendly against Dundee United, said: “Of course the players my age are trying to impress the manager.
“The older players are maybe just focused on getting ready for the new season. For me I can’t wait for every game as it is an opportunity to try and do well.
“It was nice to score (against Morecambe), but the main thing is that we won. We are Everton and we must win these games. That game is out of the way now and we have another one on Wednesday night.
“Every training session it is important for me to be good – not only for the manager and the coaches but also for me and my confidence. Every day I try and focus on my training. I know it is up to me.”
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After their mini tour of Scotland, which also features a friendly against Motherwell on Saturday, the Blues have two matches in Indonesia before a game at Blackpool, Tony Hibbert’s testimonial against AEK Athens and a trip to Malaga complete their preparations.
The busy schedule will mean plenty of chances for Vellios to make his mark, and he knows what is expected of him in the coming season.
He said: “Last season was a great experience for me but now this is a new season.
“I have had an extra year before and I know how to start – this is my second pre-season at Everton and that can help me.
“I feel better all the time, psychologically stronger and also more comfortable with my teammates.”
Meanwhile, Evertonians can get their hands on the new Nike home kit on Thursday. The 2012/13 Royal Blue jersey will go on sale at Everton One, Everton Two and online at evertondirect.com from 9am.
As well as picking up the first Nike Everton home kit, Blues fans can also meet Goodison legend Peter Reid at the Everton One store from 5pm.
Everton in the Community coaches will also be running football skills sessions and face painting in the car park of the club store, while junior Blues can put their skills to the test in fun competitions with prizes up for grabs.
EVERTON’S talks with Tottenham Hotspur over Steven Pienaar’s proposed move back to Goodison Park are ongoing but it appears that a deal is not yet imminent.
Last week, Andre Villas-Boas revealed he would not stand in the way of the South African making his return to Everton.
While the Goodison Park outfit remain hopeful that a deal can be struck for the 30-year-old who originally departed for White Hart Lane in January 2011, discussions over the fee remain at boardroom level.
The Everton first team squad, who have now been bolstered by the return of Tim Cahill and John Heitinga, have moved up to Scotland for the latest leg of their pre-season preparations.
David Moyes’s side, who are based at St Andrews, face SPL duo Dundee United and Motherwell.
Everton’s first game at Tannadice Park was due to take place on Wednesday but was put back 24 hours to Thursday night (7.45pm) because Dundee United’s waterlogged pitch.
The decision to put the game back was taken following a pitch inspection at 12:30pm on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Danijel Pranjic has revealed that he signed for Sporting because he could not wait on Everton.
“David Moyes publicly announced that he wanted me at Everton,” Pranjic said.
“But then I got a feeling that things were moving too slow and I didn’t want to wait anymore. I could have waited until the end of August but then Sporting knocked on my door and I knew right away that this is what I want.”
SUNDERLAND are leading the race to sign Blackpool winger Matt Phillips.
But they face stiff competition from Everton and Wigan, while Tangerines boss Ian Holloway is determined to keep the 21-year-old at Bloomfield Road, despite the club missing out on promotion last season.
Black Cats chief Martin O’Neill has turned to Phillips, having been put off by the wage demands of Blackburn’s Junior Hoilett.
If O’Neill lands the youngster, he will hope he emulates Blackpool’s Kevin Phillips – a Sunderland legend following his goalscoring exploits at the Stadium of Light.
Holloway will fight tooth and nail to hang on to Phillips and Tom Ince.
He said: “They are going to be very big players for us next season and I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do.”
O’Neill has added ex-England international Steve Guppy to his back-room staff. The ex-Celtic and Leicester winger worked on a part-time basis last year.