David Moyes is rather embattled at the moment having overseen arguably the lowest moment of Manchester United’s dreadful season to date – a 0-3 defeat at home to Liverpool – so we thought we’d try to cheer him up with a little positive press.
Join us as we count down our top 20 David Moyes signings for Everton…
Top twenty David Moyes signings for Everton
20. John Heitinga – The Dutchman had some wobbly times, but in the seasons not immediately following major international tournaments he was outstanding. Unlucky to face competition from such consistent performers as Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin. Wages fairly high but £6m a very reasonable fee for one of Holland’s first choice defenders.
19. John Stones – Described by Roberto Martínez as “the most promising young English centre-half that we have in the country”, the £3m it took to prise Stones from Barnsley showed signs of being a snip when he scored an outrageously dinked penalty against Juventus in a pre-season tournament. Furthermore, he took it immediately after Andrea Pirlo, he of the dinked penalty mastery, in a shoot-out that the Toffees went on to win.
18. Marcus Bent – At £450,000 from Ipswich Town, Bent was a distinctly underwhelming replacement for Wayne Rooney when he arrived in the summer of 2004. How remarkable it was then when he went on to spearhead the first-half-of-the-season run of results that propelled Everton to a 4th place finish.
17. Bryan Oviedo – Leighton Baines’s Costa Rican understudy has filled in to a scarcely believable degree of success, scoring against Stoke City and Manchester United before succumbing to a nasty injury in an FA Cup match at Stevenage. Some outlets mistakenly reported at the time that his transfer from FC Copenhagen was worth £5m – in fact it was worth just £1.2m.
16. Andrew Johnson – Signed for £8.6m from Crystal Palace, then sold at approximately a £2m profit two years later after contributions of 12 and 10 goals (all competitions) to sides that finished 6th and 5th.
15. Louis Saha – Part of the apparent “just take a bunch of our players over the the next five years or so” clause in the deal that took Wayne Rooney from Everton to Manchester United, Saha managed 15 and 10-goal seasons after scoring the quickest FA Cup final goal in history against Chelsea in 2009.
14. Yakubu Aiyegbeni – Ended up being moved on at a significant loss, but only after falling out of favour following a prolonged spell out having ruptured his Achilles tendon. Prior to that, he was the only Everton striker of the Premier League era to score 20 goals in a season. Now playing for Al Rayyan SC in Qatar, and still only 31 years old…if you can believe that.
13. Joseph Yobo – Another Nigeria international to have wound up leaving in acrimonious circumstances, the £4.5m centre-back nevertheless gave eight years of mostly good service. An early injection of pace into Moyes’s backline, as it were. Now back in the Premier League with Norwich City.
12. Kevin Mirallas – At just £5m, the Belgian forward – left, right or centre, wherever you need him – hasn’t been scoring as regularly this season yet remains an integral part of the team and all that jazz. Back-to-back goals against Stoke City and Tottenham Hotspur last season were breathtaking, while this season has seen him blossom into quite the free-kick specialist.
11. Phil Neville – £3.5m got Everton eight years’ worth of captaincy from a player whose ‘intangibles’ compensated for his relatively limited ability.
10. Nigel Martyn – Cited once by Moyes as his best signing, the few hundred thousand or so it took to bring the goalkeeper belatedly in from Leeds United proved a masterstroke when his dependability and class steadied a ship that had for years been rocking from the likes of Paul Gerrard, Steve Simonsen and Richard Wright.
9. Sylvain Distin – £5m seemed a lot to pay for a 31-year-old centre-back at the time – five years down the line it looks fantastic business, especially when you consider that he effectively (in both senses of the word) replaced a player whose sale generated £24m. More on him later.
8. Tim Howard – Since his 2006 arrival from Manchester United, the US national team goalkeeper has missed just five Premier League games. His errors in the remaining 287 games are few and far between. Well, not far between because they’ve tended to come in little spates, but you know. Anyway, he is currently enjoying perhaps the best run of form of his career to date.
7. Tim Cahill – Another Championship player to have arrived in the same summer as Rooney was sold, the £1.5m signing from Millwall scored 12 goals in his debut season as Everton surprised everyone with a top-four finish. His record of 68 goals in 278 games overall makes him the club’s leading marksman across this decade and last.
6. Steven Pienaar – Ill-starred affair with Tottenham Hotspur aside, Pienaar looks a bargain even if you add together the fee it took to sign him in the first place (£2m) and the fee it took to sign him back again (£3m). Mind you, Spurs paid £3m for him too so £2m is the net expenditure whichever way you look at it. Er, unless there was an initial loan fee. Any which way, he’s been hugely influential on a succession of Everton sides.
5. Phil Jagielka – A £4m signing from relegated Sheffield United in 2007, Jagielka is now captain, has 24 England caps and looks this season to have upped his already lofty standards by improving his distribution to fit in with the Martínez style. His burst forwards for Steven Pienaar’s chance in the 1-1 draw at Arsenal in December summed up how much more comfortable he looks in possession now.
4. Leighton Baines – A £6m signing from Wigan Athletic in the same summer as Jagielka and Yakubu both arrived, Baines is now on 21 England caps and can quite reasonably be considered amongst the best left-backs in the world. Rumours of a move to Manchester United abounded last summer, but then that looks more like a downwards step now.
3. Joleon Lescott – Bought for £5m from Wolverhampton Wanderers in the same summer as Johnson and Howard, Lescott brought in £24m when he engineered his transfer to Manchester City. A centre–back by preference, Lescott was also so good at left-back that he was voted Players’ Player of the Year in consecutive years from that position and kept Leighton Baines out of the team for the best part of two seasons. Scored 10 goals in the 2007-08 campaign alone.
2. Mikel Arteta – £2m for the best little Spaniard Evertonians knew, at least until Roberto Martínez and Gerard Deulofeu. Frequently magical across his six years, Arteta was later sold to Arsenal at five times the price.
1. Seamus Coleman – £60,000 from Sligo Rovers. That’s a week’s wages to many a footballer. Currently performing like a £10m+ player and coming into what should be his best years. Recommended to Moyes by Sligo manager and former teammate Willie McStay, but cracking business all the same. Cafu with extra added goals, that’s what Seamus Coleman is.
Those were our top 20 David Moyes signings for Everton (EDIT: yes, it appears we forgot Marouane Fellaini…rats). Join us in a decade for our top 20 David Moyes signings for Manchester United!