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Timmy to Saudi Arabia, you're crazy

by Ben Somerford on Jun 05, 2012

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Life as a footballer can change very quickly. Less than two years ago Tim Cahill was among the topscorers in the Premier League after a blistering start to the 2010-11 season, but now there's reports he could be forced out at Everton for a big-money move to Saudi Arabia of all places.

It may seem crazy, but if you believe the reports, financially-challenged Everton are considering a $4 million offer from Al Nassr as they try to offload their highest paid player who seems to be in decline.

It is a stunning turn of events for Cahill, who was in career-best form prior to the 2011 Asian Cup before battling a foot injury and enduring an ordinary 2011-12 season with the Toffees, managing just three goals all term, and being sent off in the final fixture of the campaign.

It seems far-fetched for the glamour boy of Australian football (or even poster boy for Weet Bix!) to next season be playing his football in Saudi Arabia, a place known for public hangings and unfair gender rights.

It also seems crazy that Everton boss David Moyes, who has previously labelled Cahill his best ever signing and has never hid his admiration for the Australia international, could be pondering letting him go. But that's the nature of football. One poor season and your future becomes murky.

So many Australians are heading to Asia these days too, so it does seem a distinct possibility but will Cahill follow that path, in particular, the one trodden by the likes of Lucas Neill and Mark Bresciano who have moved to West Asia in the dawn of their careers?

As I mentioned before, it just doesn't seem to be the right fit.

Cahill, ever the family man, may - like his Socceroos team-mate Harry Kewell – decide Saudi Arabia isn't the right place for his young family.

But more to the point, while I've never had the joy of meeting Cahill one-on-one, from my limited interactions with him (at press conferences and mixed zones, as well as my perception of him from watching him on TV and following him on Twitter) he doesn't seem the kind of guy who'd simply roll over and give up his Premier League career.

Indeed, Cahill has always struck me as someone who appreciates the simple things in life. Playing in arguably the world's best league isn't something he'd give up easily. After all, he didn't make his Premier League debut until he was 24 after grinding away for years at Millwall.

He also appears to be someone who doesn't back down from a challenge. His current challenge is to re-discover the form he produced prior to the 2011 Asian Cup. Whether he's physically capable of that anymore is something only he'd really know, but you get the feeling he'd want to find out by giving it another crack.

Whether Moyes will give him another crack is another important question to ask, but given the Scot's love and faith in the Aussie, you fancy he'll have a role to play at the club next season, even if it is in a reduced capacity, as players like Marouane Fellaini take over.

So the question to ask is whether Cahill will accept playing a bit-part role? My belief is an unequivocal yes. It's quite common for veterans in England to do as such.

That may seem unusual to Australian fans back home, many who may call for Cahill to come and help the A-League by returning to his homeland to play. But in this context, surely you cannot begrudge the guy.

Cahill will want to play English top flight for as long as possible, and given his loyalty to the Toffees, as long as he has a role to play and he can fulfill it, he'll be happy doing it.