The long-running saga which has finally taken Steven Pienaar from Everton to Tottenham Hotspur is not yet over – and already the Goodison Park faithful are being assured: “He’s replaceable.”
As predicted by this writer three months ago, Pienaar finally snubbed Chelsea for Spurs last night when Everton agreed a fee with the rising North London hopefuls rather than the ailing West London champions.
Both clubs are believed to have offered £3m for South Africa’s brightest star, who would be out of contract and available free at the end of the season.
Chelsea’s initial £3m bid was accepted by Everton on Sunday night but the club failed to agree terms with Pienaar, who was believed to be seeking £75,000 a week - a pittance next to the £130,000-plus paid to John Terry and Frank Lampard.
When Spurs upped their bid to £3m from an initial £1.5m, they were granted permission to speak to their long-term target, as predicted by me on eNews in South Africa last night.
Pienaar, 29, will now join newly-signed compatriot Bongani Khumalo, 24, at White Hart Lane during the January transfer window and will presumably be in line for a Champions League debut against AC Milan, which has always been his aim, according to agent Rob Moore.
Moore told me: “This move was never motivated by money. Steven is looking to sign that final contract with a side that can offer him regular Champions League football. Everton last managed that in 2005. I think that says it all.”
Pienaar’s transfer to Spurs had barely been agreed when Everton’s US international goalkeeper Tim Howard appeared on Sky News to reassure fans: "The gaffer David Moyes is really shrewd. He found Mikel Arteta, Tim Cahill and Steven Pienaar.
"Steven has been our engine for the last couple of years. There is no hiding from that. He has been our star player.
"But my feeling, having been at this club for so long, is that we just get on with it. We don't dwell on things. There will be another. That's just the way it is here at Everton."