What The Papers Say - 17 January
A round up of the day's Everton-related paper talk.
The views on this page are taken from the local and national media and do not necessarily reflect the views of Everton.
Queens Park Rangers are still working on a deal to bring Rennes midfielder Yann M'Vila to the club this month as Premier League rivals Everton monitor the situation.
The 22-year-old France international has been widely tipped to join Rangers before the January transfer window closes, but David Moyes may yet make a move for M'Vila.
QPR secured the services of M'Vila's international team-mate Loic Remy from Marseille after the striker opted to move to Loftus Road over Newcastle.
But Moyes is considering a loan move for M'Vila, with a view to a permanent switch in the summer.
Rennes are hoping for a total of £10million for the defensive midfielder. Everton may seek to spread the cost until summer, but this would take a considerable chunk out of Moyes' modest transfer fund for next season.
NIKICA JELAVIC is having to learn to cope with the scrutiny prompted by his first six prolific months at Everton, admits Phil Jagielka.
The Croatian striker scored 11 goals in 16 games after joining the Blues for £5.5m from Rangers in January last year, but has struggled to continue that scintillating form into this campaign so far.
Jagielka insists that defenders across the Premier League will have studied the 27-year-old’s traits in the penalty area, and that Jelavic must now find a way to thrive regardless.
He said: “It’s what happens in the Premier League. You’ve got people watching you and with no disrespect to what has happened at his other clubs, when he came in nobody really knew what he was going to do.
“Some of the first touch finishes that he had last season were brilliant. Whether he can do that week in week out for a longer period you never know. People watch videos now and find out how to play against people. They’ll have a rough idea of where he stands and where he wants to receive the ball, which makes Jela’s job harder.
“People are talking as if he’s only got one or two but he’s got seven. It proves how well he did last season and it’s better when people are talking about you rather than not. He’s got all of our backing and we’re all hoping it’s only a matter of time before he’s scoring every week and challenging to be top scorer.”
The England defender believes that David Moyes’ decision to deploy Marouane Fellaini in a more advanced attacking role this season has also had an impact on Jelavic’s goal-scoring exploits.
“This year we’ve had different options to try and score with Felli going up there and posing a different threat,” he said. “He’s had all the limelight and Jela has maybe not had as much to feed off, whereas last season everything that went into the box was for Jela. It’s just a different challenge.
“We’ve got no issues, we see him every day and he scores every day so it’s just one of those things. If we’re doing OK without him scoring all these goals then hopefully he prefers it from January onwards and it’ll be the time we need him to score. We’ve got away with him not scoring as many as we thought he may have done so far.”
Jagielka said he is particularly impressed with Jelavic’s efforts to turn provider for his team-mates, and singled out his assist for Victor Anichebe during the recent 2-1 victory over Newcastle as an example of his efforts.
He added: “He set Victor up in the Newcastle game whereas previously he might have been the one in Victor’s position.”
EVERTON’S vibrant attacking football this season has inspired thousands of extra fans to flood through the Goodison turnstiles.
The impressive start to the Premier League campaign which has seen the Blues remain in the reckoning for a top four finish, has also led to a significant upturn in the amount of supporters buying half season tickets for the first time.
By October David Moyes’ men had the most shots of any team in Europe’s top leagues, while also possessing one of the most creative players in Leighton Baines.
And the feel-good factor generated by performances on the pitch is already set to have an impact on the club’s ability to generate vital match-day revenue.
New figures released by club officials show that more than 1,000 Blues secured their seat for the second half of the campaign alongside the 22,766 season ticket holders who took their seats for the memorable 1-0 victory against Manchester United back in August.
And together with 1,019 corporate members for the 2012/13 season, there is now almost 25,000 regular visitors to Goodison Park.
The increases have been spread across ever section of Goodison supporter base including:
A 152% increase in the total number of half season tickets sold.
A new generation of Blues flocking to watch their side with a 157% increase in the number of under 16s becoming half season ticket holders
63% more over 65s purchasing a Half Season Ticket.
Attendances are also up with an average of 36,964 watching Everton’s first 11 home games of this season, compared to an average of 33,320 at the same time last year.
The upturn in results since January 2012 onwards when Steven Pienaar returned to the club and key men Nikica Jelavic and Darron Gibson were signed also produced a 116% increase in the number of supporters who bought their first full season ticket over the summer.
Everton legend Graeme Sharp believes fans are so far being rewarded in the best possible way for their loyalty this season.
He said: “The style of football has been great and supporters are coming through the turnstiles now expecting to see a good game, expecting to see a good Everton performance, expecting to see Everton win.
“That can only bode well for the future.”
DAVID MOYES admits patience will be a virtue as Everton look to unpick the defences hampering their charge for a top-four place.
Moyes’s men missed the chance to close up on Tottenham Hotspur in the final Champions League qualification berth when they were held to a goalless draw at home to Swansea City.
It was Everton’s 10th draw in 22 Premier League games this season, half of which have come at home.
The Goodison outfit head for Southampton on Monday evening looking to extend a sequence that has seen them lose just one of their last 10 top-flight matches.
And Moyes accepts Everton’s increasing profile has prompted opponents to treat them with greater caution.
“There’s no doubting that we are in a good run of form just now,” said the Everton manager.
“However, we must all remain positive, and at times patience from both the players and the supporters is going to be required.
“We found against Wigan that we had to be patient to get the victory in the game and, in a different way, Chelsea did a job not dissimilar to that in the previous home fixture.”
The lack of cutting edge lamented by Moyes will hopefully be improved once long-term absentees Kevin Mirallas and Darron Gibson return to fitness.
And the Everton manager accepts a small squad means the availability of such key players could prove decisive during the final months of the season.
“I feel it will be vitally important that we get as many of our injured players back to give us a fighting chance in the second half of the campaign,” added Moyes.
“Kevin Mirallas, Darron Gibson and Tony Hibbert have all been out and it was important that we got Seamus Coleman back for the game at Cheltenham.
“Undoubtedly, teams will pick up suspensions or injuries and with the tight squad we have we can’t afford players to be out for long periods.
“We are deep into the transfer window now and I have said all along that my intentions are to keep the squad intact.
“My emphasis to the players is to keep focused on the job in hand and that the next game is always the most important one.”
Phil Neville, meanwhile, has criticised the fixture planners and television schedulers for Everton’s away fixtures this month.
Travelling fans began the New Year by having to trek up to Newcastle United for a midweek match, and then headed south the following Monday evening for the FA Cup third round tie at Cheltenham Town.
With next week’s trip to Southampton also on a Monday evening for live television coverage, many Everton supporters will be forced to miss out on at least a half-day of work to attend the match.
Fans were at least spared another lengthy trip in a fortnight with Bolton Wanderers having beaten Sunderland in their FA Cup replay earlier this week, Everton now travelling to the Reebok Stadium on Saturday, January 26 (3pm).
But Everton skipper Neville said: “Our away games this month aren’t very kind with regards to kick-off times.
“Southampton away on a Monday night is really testing for our fans but I’m sure they’ll be there in large numbers, just as they were at Cheltenham Town in the FA Cup.
“But, from a team point of view, I don’t care whether it was Sunderland or Bolton that we got in the next round. The object of any cup tie is to get through it, we’ve done that and we’ll deal with round four when it comes.”