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Heitinga Transfers to Everton

photo: Yiorgos Karahalis | Reuters

photo: Yiorgos Karahalis | Reuters

Dutch international right back, Johnny Heitinga, has accepted a transfer from Atletico Madrid to Everton, completing a physical just under the transfer window deadline which closed at 5pm yesterday.

It’s a loss for Atleti and a serious loss for the Champions League competition (Everton competes in the Europa League but Heitinga is cup-tied for even that). I was looking forward to the rebels — “Los Colchoneros” (“the Mattress-Makers”) — of Madrid making a strong showing this year. Perhaps not.

Heitinga — a product of Ajax — is one of the quality right backs who’s lithe movement reminds a little of Cafu in his nimbler days. A skilled handler of the ball who gives firm ball on the ground and who is capable of launching stinging balls early across the 18 from wide space. He is clever, unpredictable, not easily read and not prone to tendency. He’ll set you up going outside then, later in the match, kill you driving inside. Unlike Ashley Cole, for example, Heitinga is the kind of wide back who keeps his wide opponents busy in their own end.

Moyes brings in Heitinga to replace Joleon Lescott who was snatched by Mark Hughes & Manchester City near the deadline. Lescott is a strong player, but this is at least a fair swap for the Toffees if Johnny can stay fit.

Heitinga rejoins his old teammate, Steven Pienaar, alongside whom he played at Ajax for five years. Said Heitinga, “I am looking forward to linking up with him again because he is a good player.”

Apparently, Heitinga was on a high salary in Madrid which Everton could not match (yet he now supercedes Mikel Arteta as Everton highest paid player). Nor can Everton offer Champions League competition this year. Even with these deficiencies in the bargain, a fine Dutch footballer feels the pull of the Premiership and the aura of living in Liverpool & environs.

My guess is Heitinga will take Tony Hibbert’s position wide-right; in which case it is unclear who among Baines, Yobo or Jagielka and others are best suited to partner Sylvain Distin in the middle of the back. It’s the kind of signing the effects of which will ripple through a side having its difficulties not a few months after just tasting the Wembley stage of an FA Cup Final.

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  1. ish

    September 3, 2009 at 12:18 am

    did average at, admittedly ok as a rightback but not amazing. He will replace hibbert who is shit. Jagielka and distin in the centre. Baines on the left.

    Comparing him to cafu and a.cole is silly. Heitinga isnt half as good as these two and you will be surprised that he isnt that all action fullback your making him out to be, as a rightback he falls far behind maicon, alves and bosingwa.

  2. NewtonHeath

    September 2, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    Was puzzled by this move honestly. Unless he had a huge resounding desire to play in the EPL, why leave a rising Atletico who are in the champions league? Not like he’ll get a massive wage increase at Everton or anything. Must be something else to this story.


  3. Chris

    September 2, 2009 at 11:52 am

    Heitinga is not as good as you make him out to be. Comparing him to Cafu is laughable.

  4. Richard

    September 2, 2009 at 11:17 am

    “in which case it is unclear who among Baines, Yobo or Jagielka and others are best suited to partner Sylvain Distin in the middle of the back”

    Nope, pretty obvious really.

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