Ex-Everton favourite given one-week deadline to earn contract
By Tom Blackburn
Everton favourite Steven Pienaar has been told by David Moyes that he has one week to earn a contract at Sunderland.
The 34-year-old Goodison fan favourite is looking for a new club after being released by the Merseysiders last month and is training at the Stadium of Light.
The South Africa international worked under Moyes for five years when the two were at Everton together.
Moyes admits he is looking for depth, but will not be rushed into a decision about Pienaar.
“Steven is still here – he has done very well,” Moyes said ahead of Sunderland’s league opener against Manchester City, as quoted by the Shields Gazette. “We thought about maybe including him in the Under-23 game on Sunday [when Chelsea visit], but we will probably train him more and get him ready.
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“He is very good on the ball, doesn’t give possession away too often. He is a tidy player but we would probably rather wait another week or so to see where he is at.
“The squad size makes us feel that we need to keep looking to add.
“A lot of the players we need to bring in might be players which haven’t got a big value, doing a little bit of what we are doing at the moment to try and find a way round it.”
Former national captain Pienaar joined Everton in 2008 from Borussia Dortmund after a year on loan in Merseyside, and cost the Toffees just shy of £2.5million.
Between then and 2016 he spent just one unsuccessful year away from Goodison Park, when he was bought by Tottenham for £3million before being sold back in 2012.
Across all competitions the left-winger has played 229 times for the Toffees, scoring 26 times and supplying an impressive 48 assists.
For his national team he has played 62 times, which has included appearances at a World Cup, two African Cup of Nations and a Confederations Cup.
In other Everton news, boss Ronald Koeman says their key player has entered a critical phase of his career.