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Pienaar longed for Everton return
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Filled in: Soccer News | 4/8/2012 at 8:40am

Steven Pienaar insists the summer change of management at Tottenham had no bearing on his decision to make a permanent return to Everton.

The 30-year-old South Africa midfielder completed a STG4.5 million ($A6.72 million) switch to the Toffees earlier this week having initially come back on loan in January, 12 months after electing to move south and end a three-and-a-half year stint on Merseyside.

Goodison Park boss David Moyes enjoyed a fruitful winter transfer window, acquiring Darron Gibson and Nikica Jelavic along with Pienaar, and Everton surged up the Barclays Premier League table on a rich vein of form.

A haul of four goals in 14 appearances was far removed from a difficult year for Pienaar at Tottenham.

He made only five Premier League starts under Harry Redknapp amid a well-stocked midfield roster, and a discussion with Moyes at the end of last season meant Andre Villas-Boas’ subsequent arrival in the Spurs hotseat would have no significance on Pienaar’s future.

“At the end of the season I was sad to say goodbye,” he said. “I spoke to the manager just before I left and that’s when I made up my mind I wanted to come back to the club.

“I made it very clear to the manager here that if the opportunity came I really wanted to come back and he promised me he’d do whatever it took to make it happen. I’m glad he showed so much belief in me to bring me back.”

That conversation meant Villas-Boas was left to conduct a largely academic one as he settled into his new role at White Hart Lane.

“I followed my heart and told myself I’d made up my mind already before I went back to training,” said Pienaar.

“We sat down, we talked and he asked me how I felt.

“I told him: ‘It was just clear before you came that I wanted to move, so nothing will change my mind – I will just be professional and work hard if nothing comes up.’ So he understood my situation.”

Pienaar joins former Rangers forward Steven Naismith among the summer arrivals at Everton and, despite the loss of talisman Tim Cahill to New York Red Bulls, he buys into an air of optimism built upon last term’s seventh-place finish.

“The likes of Gibbo and Niki are quality players and when I came back it made it even easier to settle in,” he added. “It was easy for us and the other guys to help push the team forward.

“With me and Steven coming in hopefully we can start the season really good and also end it on a high note.

“I’m not promising anything, but if we start the way we ended it (last season) then it can be a special season for us.”

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