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Everton seal Naismith deal

Steven Naismith (r) is now re-united with David Weir (l) and Nikica Jelavic (centre) at Goodison Park (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images).
Steven Naismith (r) is now re-united with David Weir (l) and Nikica Jelavic (centre) at Goodison Park (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images).
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Everton have completed their first signing of the summer, with Scotland international Steven Naismith joining on a free transfer.

The 25-year-old was available on a free after rejecting the transfer of his contract from soon-to-be liquidated Rangers (one of only a few clubs in a worse financial position than us!) to the newco formed by Charles Green.

A number of other clubs were rumoured to be interested but Everton always appeared to be in the driving seat, the prospect of linking up with former Rangers team-mates Nikica Jelavic and David Weir appearing to have swayed Naismith’s decision.

The only worry is his fitness as has not played since October after suffering damaged cruciate knee ligaments, the second time he has suffered such an injury (once in each knee).

Everton, careful as ever, are understood to have put Naismith through a series of medicals to test his fitness - even though he is on a free transfer they cannot afford to take any risks.

With no issues raised the deal has been signed, sealed and delivered, with the former Kilmarnock man signing a four-year contract.

I cannot honestly say I have watched Naismith too many times but as the deal has been progressing I asked a few people about him and it appears we have got an absolute bargain.

Liverpool Echo reporter Gregg O’Keefe reckons he was valued at around £5million before Rangers collapsed.

Many believed he was Rangers’ best player, even when Jelavic was there, and their link-up was one of the principal reasons for their success.

That link-up and understanding with the Croatian is what makes this deal so exciting, with strike pairings, sometimes things just ‘click’ and two players can develop an understanding that takes others years to achieve.

His versatility means he can play just behind Jelavic or – if the need dictates – switch out onto either wing in a 4-5-1 formation, it is that sort of versatility that Moyes loves.

The main worry is of course his knees, cruciate injuries are nasty. But, as we saw with Mikel Arteta, players can recover and return to their best

Knowing Moyes he won’t have taken any chances with medicals and will ensure he is in top condition before pitching him into the first-team.

The signing should ensure that we do not suffer from a chronic lack of firepower like the start of last year and the fact he was ‘free’ should ensure any funds we have can be put elsewhere.

If we can somehow seal a deal for Steven Pienaar and keep our best players then I would consider that a decent summer – our poor starts are so often caused by player sales and rushed incomings on deadline day.

However, I understand the Baines rumours will continue to rumble on right until the deadline, with any sale of Patrice Evra critical to any deal. Meanwhile the likes of Hugo Rodallega, Daniel Pranjic and even Landon Donovan have been linked with moves to Merseyside – but take any rumours involving cash-strapped Everton with a pinch of salt.

Given the trauma of past summers though, this one is already looking up.