The South African dream team is falling in to place at Tottenham Hotspur following the news that Steven Pienaar has “agreed in principle” to move to White Hart Lane from Everton.
With Inter Milan and Atletic Madrid also seeking the 28-year-old, who is out of contract in the summer, Spurs are believed to have made a £70,000-a-week deal with “Schillo”, who didn’t appear for Everton in their 5-1 FA Cup third round romp at Notts County on Saturday.
His unexplained absence suggests the move to north London will be made during the January transfer window, with a bargain-basement fee of around £1.5m being offered, rather than waiting until the summer when Pienaar could move for free.
That would see experienced European campaigner Pienaar teaming up later this month with rookie Bongani Khumalo, 24, who completed his move to Spurs last week and commenced training on Friday.
The former Supersports United captain kicked his first ball in anger for his new club on Monday at Spurs Lodge in Chigwell. He played in a 4-2 friendly win over Crystal Palace 4-2 with fringe players Cameron Lancaster and Ryan Mason both scoring twice for the Spurs XI.
Yesterday’s Guardian in London suggested Everton boss David Moyes is keen to keep Pienaar for the rest of the season, but he could do with a January transfer move as he attempts to build funds to sign his number one priority... a goal-getter.
Pienaar was offered £60,000-a-week to stay at Everton but according to his agent Rob Moore, money is not the priority as the 28-year-old seeks a move to a “genuine Champions League club”. Moore texted me yesterday that reports of a “done deal” at Spurs may be “premature”.
Spurs manager Harry Redknapp has made no secret of his admiration for Pienaar and is known to be keen to team up his pair of Bafanas with memories of Mabilelo OJ Mabizela’s awkward White Hart Lane career five years ago clearly in mind.
The arrival of Pienaar could also pave the way for Spurs to cash in on man-of-the-moment Gareth Bale, who fills the same wide role as Pienaar. Italian giants Juventus have expressed an interest in Bale after his hat-trick against European champions Inter Milan at the San Siro earlier this season.
The Daily Mail contradicted the Guardian yesterday, suggesting Redknapp’s interest in Everton captain Phil Neville had annoyed officials at Goodison and that Chelsea are now favourites to pick up Pienaar on the cheap.
Everton boss David Moyes is quoted as saying: "I spoke with Harry Redknapp briefly before the transfer window opened. Daniel Levy (Spurs chairman) and Bill Kenwright (Everton owner) had an even briefer conversation at our recent game against Spurs and mutually agreed that this would go no further. At no time was any offer made – nor would one have been welcomed. Phil Neville is our captain and is an important part of the Everton set-up."
The Mail also suggests David Beckham, currently training at Spurs, could yet be allowed to play for the club, reducing the need for Pienaar. But in this morning’s Mail, Simon Jones reckons Spurs will pay £2m for the South African to ward off Chelsea’s interest.
Who the hell is Neal Collins (nealcol on Twitter)? Google the name or see www.nealcollins.co.uk.