South African midfielder set to leave Goodison Park this summer
By Greg Stobart
Steven Pienaar would consider leaving Everton for bitter rivals Liverpool, Goal.com UK has learned.
The South African midfielder is set to leave Everton for free when his contract at Goodison Park expires at the end of the season.
Everton have offered Pienaar a deal worth around £65,000-a-week but manager David Moyes admitted last week he is 'resigned' to the summer departure of one of his star players.
Arsenal, Tottenham and Italian champions Inter are believed to be among the clubs keeping tabs on the former Ajax and Borussia Dortmund star, who will be free to negotiate with foreign clubs in January.
Goal.com UK understands the 28-year-old would not be against a controversial switch across Stanley Park, should Liverpool show an interest in him.
Reds boss Roy Hodgson has not shown any indication so far that he is lining up a move for Pienaar but will be encouraged that the player would even contemplate the switch.
The last player to cross the divide between the rival Merseyside clubs was Nick Barmby, when he joined Liverpool in a £6 million deal in 2000.
Pienaar is a fans' favourite at Goodison Park and was voted the club's player of the year last season, but he could risk a huge supporter backlash as he looks set to see out the remainder of his contract and leave under the Bosman ruling.
The attacking midfielder, who usually operates from the left side, insists he remains fully focused on performing for Everton but is aware of the riches on offer elsewhere.
Pienaar is understood to know of interest from leading clubs across Europe and has told Moyes that he wants to play in the Champions League next season.
“Steven's contract is expiring but there has been no contact with me from other clubs,” Pienaar's agent Ivan Modia told Goal.com UK.
“There is no news on his contract talks with Everton – he is just concentrating on playing well and that is all.”
Moyes admitted this weekend: "I have probably resigned myself to Steven leaving but I knew that when there was no contract signed in the summer...there is a really good contract offer there for him but, to be fair, he has stood up for us this season and has done some really good things on the pitch."