Whilst the futures of a certain Reds duo continually dominate Merseyside football headlines, an occurrence over on the other side of Stanley Park may constitute the most curious transfer event of the summer. Everton midfielder Dan Gosling has been cleared to walk away from Goodison Park as a free agent following his club’s failure to offer him a new contract in writing. Although the club may rue the decision to formalise the verbal agreement negotiated between the two parties earlier this year, with the mistake set to cost them in the region of £4m-£5m, opting to seek employment elsewhere may come back to haunt the England Under-21 international. Will Gosling regret reneging upon his new contract at Everton?
Signed from Plymouth Argyle during the transfer window of January 2008, Dan Gosling swiftly earned a reputation as one of England’s finest young talents at Goodison Park. The versatile 20-year-old, who can operate at right-back, right-midfield and centre-midfield, was dispatched to the club’s reserve team immediately after his arrival but was promoted to the first-team squad at the start of the 2008/09 season. Over the course of the last two seasons, Gosling made 34 appearances and scored six goals, both respectable tallies for a young player plying his trade in the Premier League. Gosling also managed to write himself into Everton folklore after scoring an extra-time winner against arch-rivals Liverpool during an FA Cup fourth round replay in 2009.
Although Gosling may have left Everton on the grounds that he can receive a better salary and more playing time at another club, he is unlikely to find another playing environment as suitable as the one that he left behind at Goodison Park. David Moyes plucked Gosling from the relative obscurity of Championship football and courageously afforded Gosling healthy doses of first-team football over the course of the last seasons. The cases of Wayne Rooney and Jack Rodwell both vindicate Moyes’ reputation as one of a nurturing, youth-friendly manager. Everton’s most recent recruit, 20-year-old Frenchman Magaye Gueye, cited Moyes’ reputation as major factor in his decision to join the club, stating “I had better feelings with Everton. I know I will get opportunities to play in a great league, which has been my dream since I was a kid.”
Newcastle United and West Ham United have both been touted as Gosling’s most likely destinations. Whilst he may be able to secure higher wages and first-team playing time at either club, both clubs are more likely than Everton to find themselves in a relegation battle next season, and could consequently provide a more tumultuous, unsettled environment for Gosling to develop in. On the other hand, Everton are comfortably established in the top half of the Premier League table and would have provided a more secure setting for Gosling to continue his progress.
Gosling’s former team-mate Jack Rodwell, one of England’s most coveted young players, spurned interest from Chelsea and Manchester United in order to sign a new contract at Everton at the end of last season. Clearly recognising the value of the environment created by David Moyes at Goodison Park, Rodwell has acknowledged that his future growth as a player would best be served upon Merseyside. Only time will tell whether or not Gosling will rue the decision not to follow the actions of his former team-mate.
Will Dan Gosling rue his decision to leave Goodison Park?
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