John Heitinga is the ideal Joleon Lescott replacement for Everton boss
02 September 2009 01:13
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Everton boss David Moyes believes he has got two players in one after signing Holland international John Heitinga for a fee that will eventually rise to £7million.
Heitinga was Moyes' last acquisition of the transfer window that closed last night, and his versatility is hugely important for the Goodison Park chief.
Moyes always considered Joleon Lescott, who finally moved to Manchester City last month for up to £24m, vital for his ability to fill more than one role, and reckons Heitinga fits the same criteria.
The Scot said: 'He is here to give me cover at centre-half and at right-back. Until Phil Jagielka returns from injury we need another player who can fill in at centre-back, and I also felt we needed some more competition at right-back.
'Johnny is comfortable in both those roles and he has also some knowledge of playing a central defensive midfield role.'
Lescott played in central defence and full-back for Everton, and Moyes now has a similar player in Heitinga.
He added: 'This is an important season for Johnny with the World Cup coming up and I am sure he will want to be playing regularly so that he goes to South Africa next summer.
'He had a difficult season last year at Atletico Madrid when he perhaps didn't do as well as he would have liked. But prior to that he was outstanding for Ajax.
'I felt the price for him offered excellent value compared to the prices we were being quoted for other players.'
Fill in: Heitinga can cover two defensive positions
Heitinga linked up with the Dutch squad after completing his medical and the transfer documentation, and will play against Japan at the weekend.
He will not be able to represent Everton in the Europa League, having already played for Atletico Madrid in the Champions League this season.
The 25-year-old said: 'I am proud to sign at the people's club. It's a nice club and a club with a big history.
'I saw a lot of Everton games last season on TV and they have a strong team. I spoke with the manager earlier and the feelings were good. The training ground is really good. It's a typical English stadium and I love it.'