As the breaking news about Tim Cahill’s pending exit slowly sinks in, many Evertonians will be forcing their minds to rule over their hearts.
A hero to so many, even Cahill's moore partisan supporters will begrudgingly accept his influence has declined over the past 18 months. Releasing his weekly wages of £55,000 is a logical business move in regards to an ageing player making a reduced contribution at an impoverished club.
That said, whatever the scenario, the prospect of never seeing another corner flag celebration in Everton colours is a difficult concept to accept and go forward with.
Cahill gave everything for the club, always the consummate professional both on and off the pitch. Whatever your view on the current state of his game, he gave every ounce of energy and shred of ability during each of the 278 games he played.
For so much of his stint at Goodison Park he was the marquee man, the player his teammates looked to for inspiration and the player his opponents feared and prepared for the most.
Signed for just £1.5 million, he will undoubtedly go down as one of the all-time bargains in Premier League history. Few have carried more of an aerial threat in the English top flight, and at his peak he could have been sold for ten times his original transfer fee.
Cahill's tally of 68 goals is the most by a player under David Moyes and the second highest tally of an Everton player in the Premier League era. So often the go-to man during crunch games, his five Merseyside Derby goals are the most by an Everton player since Dixie Dean.
His most endearing trait is how he epitomises what supporters crave, yet see less and less of in their modern day heroes. Genuine passion, commitment, emotion and a sincere love for the club were transparent in all he did for the Toffees. Of course, he even has an Everton tattoo.
One positive thing to take from this is that his departure paves a more obvious path to the first team for Ross Barkley, a future star perhaps slightly suppressed by Cahill’s role in the team.
Steven Naismith has also excelled playing off Nikica Jelavic and David Moyes may now look to add more fluency to the Toffees' style with a skillful, more technically adept player deployed off his front-man.
The choices are there for Moyes to mull over during pre-season, but however Everton choose to go on from here is a discussion for another day. For now, it’s only a heartfelt thanks for eight years of cherished memories.
New York Red Bulls, enjoy.
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