The Belgian midfielder’s future has been the subject of speculation as the new year transfer window approaches, with David Moyes bracing himself for interest in the club’s top scorer. However Pienaar believes the 25-year-old, who notched his eighth goal of the season during Saturday’s 1-1 draw with reigning Premier League champions Manchester City, will be smart enough not to depart Goodison at a pivotal point of his career on Merseyside when he is playing better than ever. He said:
“He’s enjoying his game at the moment so I don’t think he’ll want to disturb that progress. He’s clever enough not to go.
“I don’t think he will go in January. I’m sure the manager will keep hold of him.
“There’s a lot of speculation about but he’s still contracted to the club, and if we keep going like this we know it might still be hard to keep hold of him in the future – but who knows? He’s been very important to us these last few weeks.”
Fellaini has already confirmed he is happy to remain at Everton if the Blues can qualify for the Champions League next season.
“If Everton finish in the top four then I’m happy to stay because I want to play in the Champions League,” said the former Standard Liege player last month.
“I’d be happy to do that at Everton. I want to do that.” It is a situation Pienaar, 30, can relate to. He left Everton when he completed a £3m switch to this Saturday’s opponents Tottenham in January 2011 to further his ambition of playing in the Champions League. Pienaar struggled to break into Harry Redknapp’s first-team line-up at White Hart Lane ahead of Gareth Bale, and rejoined the Blues permanently for £4.5m last summer after returning on loan in January. Subsequently the former South Africa captain maintains he would not criticise £30m-rated Fellaini if he eventually chose to call time on his four-and-a-half year Everton spell.
“He’s a grown man and everyone makes his own decisions,” he added.
“You have to make decisions that have risks in life.
“If you’re scared to get out of bed and take a risk, you’re not enjoying life. I think if the opportunity comes for him eventually and he takes it we’ll wish him all the best but I definitely don’t think it’ll be in January.”
Pienaar also believes the spirit in Everton’s camp remains one of the club’s biggest strengths, and said it will help another of Moyes’ key-men, striker Nikica Jelavic, recapture his best form.
“We all have our off days. He just needs to keep going,” he said.
“The world changes. We’re in a job when we get opportunities to get things right. Against Arsenal he had a fantastic game and kept the two centre halves busy. All credit to him after the week when he was sick and didn’t train. He showed up and put in a shift.
“He’s a popular guy in the dressing room and the way things are going we’re a very healthy team. We make eachother smile and encourage eachother, which is important.”