Everton secure Belgian Mirallas
Soccer:Everton have signed Belgium forward Kevin Mirallas from Olympiacos for an undisclosed fee. The 24-year-old agreed a four-year contract at Goodison Park after passing a medical yesterday, but he is ineligible for tomorrow's clash with Manchester United.
The versatile forward, who will wear the number 11 shirt, told evertontv: “I am very happy because Everton is a big club and for me it’s a very good opportunity. I’ve known Everton have been following me for a while and after talking with the manager I decided coming to Everton was the best opportunity for me.
“I know this is a great club with great supporters and a club that has the ability win a lot of games in the Premier League. That’s why I came.”
Mirallas scored 20 goals in Greece last season, having previously played in France for St Etienne and Lille, and has netted five times in 28 appearances for his country. His signing was completed too late to feature in Monday’s clash with Manchester United, when the Toffees will be looking to buck the trend of recent seasons by getting their campaign off to a strong start.
David Moyes’ side finished seventh in the Premier League last season but their European hopes were all but scuppered by their familiar poor early form.
Striker Victor Anichebe admits it is something they are looking to rectify this season.
“We always finish the season really strong so if we can start well this year then you never know where that will take us. We’re certainly looking to start better than we have done. I don’t think we should expect anything, just play and then we’ll see where we are. But Everton’s a big club and should be finishing in the top half of the table, and I’m sure we will.”
The Toffees have taken points off Alex Ferguson’s side in each of the past four years, including in last season’s remarkable 4-4 draw at Old Trafford.
Anichebe said: “It’s always a tough game against them but we’re at our home ground, our fans really get behind us so it’s going to be a great opening fixture for the club and the players. Hopefully we can get a great result.”
The occasion will be given added spice by the likely presence in the United squad of Robin van Persie, who completed his move from Arsenal on Friday and is in line to make his debut.
Anichebe added: “It’s always good to be surrounded by the world’s best players and Van Persie is one of them. He was probably the best player last season but whether he plays or not it will be a good game.”
As well as Mirallas, Everton have secured the permanent return of midfielder Steven Pienaar from Tottenham along with Steven Naismith’s arrival from Rangers.
Pienaar left Goodison Park in January 2011 to move to Tottenham but struggled to break into the Spurs side and headed back to Merseyside on loan a year later.
He made a real impact, scoring five goals and dictating play in midfield for the Toffees, and Anichebe is delighted the South African is a permanent fixture once again.
“Steven’s a really good friend of mine and it’s great to see him back at the club,” said the striker. “You can see he enjoys his football here, he’s our main player and a really top player. It’s good to see him happy and linking up the play for us.”