Former Everton winger Steven Pienaar is savouring the prospect of Andre Gomes spending his peak years at Goodison Park.
Midfielder Gomes completed a permanent move from Barcelona last month following a stellar campaign on loan with the Club last term.
The 25-year-old Portuguese, who also counts Benfica and Valencia among his former employers, signed a five-year deal with Everton, tying him to Goodison until at least June 2024.
Pienaar originally joined the Club on a temporary arrangement from Borussia Dortmund in 2007.
He committed permanently to Everton the following year and sees parallels with his own situation in Gomes’s transfer.
In common with Pienaar, Gomes came to Merseyside in search of regular action and promptly found a platform to recapture his dazzling best.
“Signing Andre was very important for Everton, he is part of Marco Silva’s plan and key to how the manager wants to play,” Pienaar told evertonfc.com.
“He is a high-quality player. He showed his talent last season – and I still think he has more to give.
“Andre has fantastic ability on the ball and links play between the defence and strikers.
“He is capable of dictating the pace of a game. As a midfielder you always want to be in charge of the game and he showed on countless occasions that he can .
“He had an injury when he came but, hopefully, can kick on from the start of this season.
“When the supporters get behind you, they make you feel at home.
“I am sure he got the same reception I did [after coming on loan] and that was why it was an easy decision for him to come back.
“I hope we will enjoy many years of him.”
Gomes played 29 matches in all competitions for Everton last season after a hamstring problem delayed his debut until the campaign was two months old.
Silva’s side arguably produced their best football in the closing months of the season – winning six and drawing three of their final 11 games, a run which featured victories over a handful of top-six teams – whetting Evertonians’ appetites for the forthcoming campaign.
And Pienaar shares supporters’ optimism ahead of Silva’s second season as boss.
“The second half of last season showed over a consistent period what the manager wants to do,” said Pienaar.
“When you have a new manager and a lot of new players, as Everton did last year, it takes time to settle.
“Beating those teams in the top six is reason to look forward to the start of the new season.
“If we continue like we finished, we can go and do something special.
“The foundation is laid, now the job is to build on it and come out of the blocks quickly.
“I am excited and looking forward to the new season as a fan. And I sense that is the case for all the supporters.”
Pienaar’s skill and ingenuity made him one of Everton’s most popular players across two spells with the Club.
He found his one year in the Bundesliga with Dortmund before arriving fairly tough going and credits the affection he received from Evertonians for liberating him on the field.
And Pienaar insists 29-cap Gomes – who describes his relationship with the Club’s fans as “love at first sight” – can be similarly freed up to produce his best by the unconditional backing of Everton supporters.
“You want to play for those fans,” added Pienaar, who scored 24 goals in 229 Everton appearances.
“That was how I felt and I am sure for Andre it is the same.
“It was probably an easy decision for him to sign, the supporters are always warm and welcoming and behind you.
“He has quality in possession, he showed it at Valencia and that was why Barcelona bought him – and he has been outstanding for his national team.
“He is an excellent player and, as an Evertonian, I am glad he has joined our club.”