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Analysis: Aiden McGeady ends months of speculation to sign for Everton

The Glaswegian has signed a four-and-a-half-year contract with Roberto Martinez’s side.

McGeady has been heavily linked with Roberto Martinez's side during the transfer window.
McGeady has been heavily linked with Roberto Martinez's side during the transfer window.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND winger Aiden McGeady has signed for Everton from Spartak Moscow for an undisclosed fee, ending months of speculation about his future. The winger was paraded in front of fans at Everton’s match against Norwich at Goodison Park on Saturday and will join up with Meyseyside club immediately.

The Glaswegian, who has signed a four-and-a-half-year contract, had been linked to Everton since last summer, when long-time admirer Roberto Martinez became manager at Goodison Park.

Martinez had come close to signing McGeady 12 months ago while he was at Wigan Athletic. A deal was close before breaking down, with the club and the player failing to reach an agreement on terms.

However, the new Everton manager remained staunch in his admiration of the Republic of Ireland winger, and armed with a sizeable transfer kitty thanks to the Toffees £27 million sale of Marouane Fellaini, the Spaniard has returned to add McGeady to his ranks.

A fee believed to be in the region of £2.5 million has been reported for Everton to clinch his playing registration from January and that would represented a decent return on the £9.5 million spent by Spartak, with just months remaining on his four-year deal.

The money available at Everton had enabled the Merseyside club to offer a fee to buy McGeady now, rather than wait until his contract at Spartak Moscow expired in June and as it is, he will join up with the club immediately.

Linking up with fellow Irish internationals James McCarthy, Seamus Coleman and Darron Gibson, the new signing will battle it out with Kevin Mirallas, Steven Pienaar, Steven Naismith and potentially, on-loan Barcelona prodigy Gerard Deulofeu for a place in an Everton’s first team next season, with European football a real possibility.

Having left Glasgow Celtic for Spartak Moscow in 2010, it has long been pondered whether a key member of Ireland’s international side would at some point make his way to the Premier League. Linked to Hull City, Aston Villa, Sunderland and Newcastle in the recent past, McGeady told The Guardian last year of his intention to try his hand in England sooner rather than later.

“When I am with the Ireland squad sometimes I look at the guys who are playing in England and feel a bit ­jealous. I feel I could be in the back of people’s minds now, that I could be forgotten about. People ask me: ‘Where are you playing now?’ ‘Oh are you still there?

“I have made no secret of the fact that one day I would like to play in England,” he said. “I would be disappointed if I never get the chance to do that. I didn’t think I would be here this long, I didn’t see myself being here longer than a couple of years. But no footballer really looks four or five years ahead.”

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Despite the winger, described by Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill as a “cantankerous git” late last year, currently serving a suspension imposed by Spartak after a row with boss Valeri Karpin, the Russians insisted they were in no rush to hurry McGeady out of the club.

Before falling out of favour, Spartak General Director Roman Askhabadze told The Daily Record the club were open to the Scot extending his stay in Russia. “The club is willing to discuss a new contract for Aiden at any time but if we get a good offer this winter, we would be willing to consider it.”

Afterwards, despite appearing to have played his last game for the Moscow club, Askhabadze insisted only a suitable offer would see him leave in January. “If we get an offer which suits Spartak, McGeady will go.”

“But if a suitable offer does not come in, he will be with us until the end of his contract.”

image(Everton’s new signing Aiden McGeady is unveiled — Peter Byrne/PA Wire/Press Association Images)

Reports in Russia in November said that McGeady’s row with Karpin came about in the dressing room at CSKA Moscow’s Khimki Arena, where Karpin aired his dissatisfaction with McGeady’s ‘extremely poor physical shape, negligent attitude to training and inadequate level of commitment,’ after a league defeat to their local rivals.

Suspended by the club and placed on the transfer list, that appeared to signal the end of McGeady as a playing concern at Spartak and supporters showed their gratitude towards him with a banner during the club’s 6-1 win over Volga.

Everton’s new wing man wasn’t universally loved in Russia. Earlier this month, club legend Yegor Titov labelled McGeady an “arsehole.”

“Many people say about McGeady he is, frankly, an ‘arsehole’. Even [O'Neill] expressed such an opinion. The problem is in his head and his attitude. But he is a top player, everyone knows it. He will leave a big gap at Spartak.”

His time as a Spartak Moscow player has come to an end but he will be fondly remembered by the supporters. In his three and a half seasons there, McGeady has scored 13 goals and provided 29 assists in all competitions, and has twice been named among the 33 best players in the league by the Russian Football Union.

Read more by Barry Landy at The Emerald ExilesFollow @EmeraldExiles

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Barry Landy

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