The 25-year-old Scotland international signed for the Blues in the summer after deciding not to transfer to the Rangers newco in the wake of the Ibrox giants’ financial melt-down. Naismith and his former team mate Steven Whittaker chose to use their right under European employment law to move on and join Premier League clubs, but the businessman who bought Rangers, Charles Green, insists the newco is entitled to transfer fees for the players. Green’s case will go before a Glasgow arbitration tribunal in January, with initial legal discussions expected to begin early in the month. However the ECHO understands that Scottish legal experts are sceptical over the chances of Green’s bid being successful, and even if it is there is doubt over whether the Blues would have to pay a fee in the £1.5m region as has been mooted. Green paid £5.5m for Rangers when he took the club over, with an estimated £3.5m of that based on the entire former playing squad – casting doubt on how one player such as Naismith, could represent such a huge slice of that figure.
Naismith, who has scored three goals for the Toffees as he seeks to fully recover from a knee ligament injury he suffered last year, is not – despite reports earlier this week – taking any private action against the Rangers newco. Some reports stated that the former Kilmarnock striker was suing his old club for constructive dismissal, but that is not the case. Neither is he one of 67 unnamed current and former Rangers players apparently involved in legal action against the club, as revealed in a share rights prospectus. Naismith is focussing on Everton’s bid to continue their impressive recent form by beating Stoke at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday, a task which his team-mate Tim Howard admits won’t be straightforward. Tony Pulis’ side currently sit in a healthy ninth position in the Premier League table and are six matches unbeaten. The Potters have the meanest defence in the Premier League and have conceded just twice on home soil all season.
“Stoke is a tough nut to crack,” said Howard.
“They've been in the Premier League for quite a number of years now and it just doesn't seem that we've gotten very good results there. So the tide needs to turn and it needs to turn this weekend.
“We’ll certainly do everything we can to fix that. They're playing well at home, they've been stingy and not given too much away, so it could be nip and tuck. But we've shown that we can be resilient as well.”