World Cup star could step in for Bafana Bafana team-mate at Goodison
By Greg Stobart | Northern Correspondent
Everton are plotting a £2.5 million swoop for South African winger Siphiwe Tshabalala as a replacement for his international team-mate Steven Pienaar, Goal.com UK can reveal.
David Moyes is now actively preparing for Pienaar’s departure and the Everton manager is ready to put together a deal to sign Tshabalala from South African side Kaiser Chiefs in the January transfer window.
Tshabalala starred at the World Cup last summer, where he scored the opening goal of the tournament, and is being tracked by a number of European clubs including Paris-Saint Germain and Wigan Athletic.
If Everton can wrap up their move for the 26-year-old in the New Year, they may consider selling Pienaar in January in order to pick up a transfer fee before he leaves for nothing when his contract expires at the end of the season.
“Everyone knows Steven is leaving but Tshabalala offers another chance to pick up a potentially excellent player for a low-risk transfer fee,” an Everton insider told Goal.com UK.
Moyes has admitted defeat in his attempts to keep Pienaar at Goodison Park and Tottenham are believed to be leading Liverpool, Manchester United and Inter in the race for the 28-year-old creative midfielder.
Everton have been heavily linked with Spurs midfielder Niko Kranjcar but are hesitant about meeting the Londoners' £8m valuation of the Croatian, and Bafana Bafana star Tshabalala has emerged as a more realistic replacement.
Tshabalala, who was recently voted as the player of the year in South Africa, is a more orthodox winger than either Pienaar or Kranjcar and is known for his pace and sweet left foot.
He scored a superb goal as the Kaiser Chiefs defended the Telkom Knockout trophy within the 3-0 Soweto derby victory over Orlando Pirates on Saturday night but is currently mourning the death of his mother who tragically passed away the following day.
Tshabalala could be joined at Goodison Park by another winger, with Everton also looking to bring in someone who can play on the right of midfield. The Toffees have expressed an interest in Manchester City winger Shaun Wright-Phillips while they remain hopeful of re-signing American Landon Donovan on loan from LA Galaxy.