Football

Premier League transfer u-turns

Pienaar is back where he belongs, at Goodison. (©GettyImages)
Pienaar is back where he belongs, at Goodison. (©GettyImages).

Steven Pienaar insisted that his Goodison Park return was never in doubt, after Everton confirmed late last night, that they'd agreed a £4.5million fee with Tottenham, to re-sign the midfielder on a four-year deal.

The South African international initially left the Toffees in January 2011, but failed to make an impression under former Spurs boss Harry Redknapp, spending the second half of last season back on Merseyside, on loan.

It proved to be an inspired move, with Pienaar playing a key role as Everton finished the campaign strongly, securing seventh place in the Premier League table.

What it also shows is that the grass is not always greener, and there is a lesson to be learnt from players that push for a transfer away - in the same vain that Pienaar did - after attracting interest from admirers, often perceived to be 'bigger', more ambitious clubs.

The 30-year-old had limited opportunities at White Hart Lane after joining Spurs for a reported fee of £3million, making only five league starts in just over a year in north London, and so jumped at the opportunity to rejoin Everton in the most recent January transfer window.

On his return, Pienaar rediscovered not only his form, with four goals in 14 Premier League appearances, but also his thirst for football, and openly admitted in May, his desire to remain with David Moyes' squad, and end his ill-fated spell at Tottenham.

It's not the first time that a move never quite got off the ground, though, with neither player or club fulfilling the promise shown from the outset. There are numerous examples of deals that turned sour, and resulted in a transfer u-turn, without needing to delve too deeply into the football archives.

When things are going well, there's no better feeling. But, football, like all sports, is an unforgiving business. Just ask the likes of Fernando Torres and Andy Carroll, who have both suffered a turbulent couple of years, finding themselves knocked down as quickly as they were built up, following high profile moves.

After lighting up the Premier League at Liverpool, Torres arrived at Chelsea in a club record £50million deal in January 2011, with the Stamford Bridge faithful anticipating fireworks. Unfortunately, the Spaniard sank in his first six months in west London, weighed down by the pressure of expectation that came with his hefty price-tag.

His barren run continued long into the 2011-12 campaign, but Torres has since undergone something of a renaissance, carrying his rejuvenated form into the European Championships earlier this summer, having picked up the Golden Boot award. Now, with the new campaign approaching, hopes are high for El Nino again.

Carroll's story is a similar one. After the Gateshead-born star was sold by boyhood club Newcastle United to Liverpool in a record £35million deal in the aftermath of Torres' departure, his Anfield arrival was greeted with a familiar sense of overwhelming optimism.

But, a succession of injuries and poor form has prevented the 23-year-old from finding his feet on Merseyside, and following the appointment of Brendan Rodgers earlier this summer - a manager renowned for a tiki taka style of play, characterised by short passing, movement, and maintaining possession - Carroll's uncompromising manner, means his future at Liverpool is now uncertain.

Recent reports suggest that the striker is poised to sign for newly-promoted West Ham United on loan, with a view to a permanent deal, but there have also been suggestions Carroll could be on his way back to Newcastle, taking him full circle in the space of just 18 months.

Whatever the destination, he'll be determined to prove a point, and hope that the brief glimpses of promise shown on England duty at Euro 2012, can be carried into the new campaign.

Robbie Keane is another striker who was forced to rebuild his reputation after leaving Tottenham - the club he served with such distinction for six seasons between 2002 and 2008 - after his £19million "dream" move to Liverpool ended after just six months.

Five goals in 19 appearances did little to endear the Republic of Ireland international to the Anfield faithful, and in February 2009 he was back at White Hart Lane in a cut-price £12million deal.

With speculation rife in this summer's transfer window, Arsenal winger Theo Walcott has also been linked with a return to his former club, Southampton, after swapping the south coast for the Emirates six years ago, when he was aged just 16.

Now 23, the England international's progress in north London has been under intense scrutiny, and with 12 months remaining on his current Gunners contract, perhaps the time has come to move on. Interest in Walcott's signature is high, but a move back to St Mary's, the place where it all began, could prove a tempting proposition.

On the other hand, there have also been instances where players have realised the error of their ways before agreeing a protracted transfer - like when Wayne Rooney declared he wanted to leave Manchester United amid reported interest from close rivals Manchester City in 2010.

Weeks later, the striker had put pen to paper on a long-term contract to remain at Old Trafford, and while some suggest the announcement had only ever been a ploy to negotiate a lucrative new deal, there is also a case to suggest that Rooney had simply taken stock of his situation.

The latest installment of the annual summer transfer saga surrounds the future of want-away Arsenal captain Robin van Persie. The Dutchman's desire to challenge for trophies is thought to be the main protagonist behind his intention to move on to pastures new.

But, should the influential forward perform a u-turn of his own, the Gunners will be presented with their best opportunity of claiming a first Premier League crown since Arsene Wenger's 'Invincibles' lifted the trophy in 2004.

Topics:
Football
Premier League
Everton
Steven Pienaar

Article Comments

Trending

Read more

;