• Striker criticised for leaving Rangers for no fee
• Naismith signs four-year contract as free agent
Steven Naismith has said his conscience is clear after refusing to switch his contract to Charles Green's newco Rangers and joining Everton on a free transfer.
The Scotland forward completed his move to Goodison Park on the day Rangers were excluded from the Scottish Premier League and has been criticised for leaving Ibrox without generating Green's company a fee of around £2m. Naismith, along with the rest of the Rangers squad, took a 75% pay cut last season on the understanding they could leave for reduced transfer fees this summer.
However, with Rangers entering liquidation and serious doubts over what division the club will play next season, Naismith, along with nine other players, refused to transfer his contract from "old" to "new" Rangers and signed a four-year contract with Everton as a free agent. The deal is not officially complete, as the striker's registration has not been released and it may ultimately fall to the Players' Status Committee at Fifa to finalise the transfer, but Naismith insists he did all he could to keep Rangers afloat.
Naismith explained: "As a squad we tried to do our best to come out with a CVA and one good thing to come out of us taking a wage cut was that every member of staff moved over to the new company. And whether they were made redundant or not, they would get a good severance package for the length of time they worked for the old company. That alone is worth what the players done.
"We couldn't do much more but there is going to be a degree of disappointment from a lot of people with the way the players have left, but it has been the hardest decision for a lot of them, whether to leave or transfer over. The ones who have transferred over are going to be the ones to hopefully bring the club back up to challenging again.
"It hasn't been nice, first of all from a fans' point of view, because the club was in such a mess, and from a footballing point of view, none of the squad were prepared for what we had to go through. It was to the squad's credit the way it did turn out and the players can hold their head's up high and say that they have done everything they could to try and pull the club out of administration. The outcome wasn't great but you move on from that and hence the reason I have come to the decision I have."
Everton have now signed two of Rangers best players – Naismith and Nikica Jelavic – for a combined £5m this year and David Moyes admitted to capitalising on the turmoil at Ibrox.
The Everton manager said: "Everyone knows Rangers' situation and we have had our eye on Steven for a long time. The situation at Rangers gave us an opening. It is a tragedy for Glasgow Rangers. Rangers don't know what division they are going to be in next season but all players want to play at the highest level."
Moyes has been linked with several other free agents, including Junior Hoilett, Hugo Rodallega and Daniel Pranjic, and he confirmed he still hopes to re-sign Steven Pienaar on a permanent basis from Tottenham Hotspur.
"We are keen [on Pienaar] and I hope in time we would be able to conclude that deal," he added. "I don't know if the situation has changed [with the arrival of André Villas-Boas as Spurs manager] but Steven has made it very clear he wants to come back here and my understanding is that hasn't changed. My next job in the coming weeks is to get Steven Pienaar here as well." Read More
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