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“I didn’t want to leave Everton like a thief after all they’d given me”

Blues forward opens up on his misery last season

Brighton and Hove Albion v Everton - Premier League Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images

Many Everton fans were very puzzled when on the night of the 2017 Dixies club chairman Bill Kenwright announced that Kevin Mirallas would be signing a new three-year deal. The Blues would be finishing the 2016-17 season in seventh place, a spot in the Europa League qualifiers sealed and some big investment in new players incoming from majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri, so why then commit to the ageing, inconsistent forward?

Apparently it was a pre-condition laid on him by the club, the Belgian has now finally revealed. Speaking to media outlet Sport/Foot (via SportWitness), Mirallas said -

“During Ronald Koeman’s first year, I wasn’t sure whether to renew my contract. Did I really want to stay here or try something new? Seeing my son happy at school, my wife’s joy and knowing how good I felt at the club eventually led me to sign for an extra three years.

“The club had warned us, using Ross Barkley as an example, they’d sign new players only if we didn’t sign new contracts. Ross didn’t, I did. In the end, they signed Davy Klaassen to replace him, then two weeks later Gylfi Sigurdsson, another number 10, and then 3-4 wingers.

“We all looked at each other confused. The priority was to replace Romelu Lukaku, but that didn’t happen. The manager bought, bought and bought and we had six catastrophic months. They’re small details, but when I arrived, the club felt like a family. When I left, I felt like it became a business where they bought without really knowing what they were doing”.

No surprises there, as former Director of Football Steve Walsh’s recruitment policy had us all befuddled with what he was doing. However, Mirallas was not as blameless as he would like to make himself sound, as he basically downed tools during David Unsworth’s interim tenure.

Under Sam Allardyce there was more misery in store for him as the stodgy Englishman really wanted nothing to do with him either.

“For his first training session, he spends five minutes looking at the guys who didn’t play the game the day before. Then, he basically only plays English players.

“A few times, he picks me for the first-team before sending me to the stands on game day, which almost never happens in England.

“Sometimes, I found myself playing left-back in training. In December, Allardyce calls the six players to the U18s and tells us that we would all go to Cyprus to play the final Europa League game, which counted for nothing. Seriously? Six pros with U18s for an official game?”

Mirallas continued that insolent behaviour out on loan at his former side Olympiacos as well, getting in trouble with the club leadership there to the point where they canceled his loan deal before the end of the season and sent him back to the Blues.

Marcel Brands and Marco Silva had no time for his diva attitude either and offloaded him to Fiorentina in Italy at the first opportunity they got. He hasn’t exactly set the Serie A on fire either apart from an excellent opening spell against Inter Milan.

“I took a lot on the chin without realising. I could have easily turned down the new deal and earned more money elsewhere, but I didn’t want to leave Everton like a thief after all they’d given me.”

Funny he would say that, because he never seemed to express any qualms for drawing a paycheck for all his no-shows on the pitch when he would disappear for long periods of games.