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Oct 13, 2012

Heitinga: 'Big chance' I'll sign new deal

John Heitinga has explained that he is likely to sign a new contract with Everton because he is attracted by the prospect of European football.

• Everton blog

The Netherlands international has said he is in talks to extend his stay at Goodison Park beyond 2014, when his current deal expires.

Heitinga stressed that nothing has been finalised yet, but has made clear that, despite reports linking him with a move to Turkish club Fenerbahce during the summer, he is content to stay on Merseyside.

There had been suggestions that the former Ajax and Atletico Madrid defender, 28, was unhappy at not being an automatic first choice under David Moyes, although his ability to play in defence and midfield saw him start 29 of Everton's 38 Premier League games last season.

He has been a regular in the starting line-up recently, having begun this season on the bench, and has helped Moyes' men to fourth place in the Premier League.

Speaking from Netherland's training camp, where he is preparing for Tuesday's World Cup qualifier in Romania following a 3-0 victory over Andorra on Friday, Heitinga said that the prospect of qualifying for Europe with Everton appealed to him.

According to the Daily Post, he said: "There is a big chance that I'll sign a new contract at Everton, but I'm not sure yet.

"I just had a new contract proposal. The deal is not done yet. But I really love it at Everton. Everton are a beautiful club with great fans.

"In the English league it's not clear-cut that you qualify for European football. Every season, we are very close. Right now we do have the squad to reach the Europa League. We're in fourth position.

"I'm really looking forward to playing European football again. I was used to that at Ajax and Atletico in the Champions League. I want to reach the highest possible. I want to qualify for European football with Everton. With this squad, we deserve that.

"But there's a big difference between earning something and getting it. I think the club crave European football. Look at the enthusiasm of the fans during the semi-final of the FA Cup last season.

"The squad are ready for it. There were not many changes in the group and we have grown. But we have one of the smallest squads in the Premier League. We can't handle too many setbacks. Then it would be difficult."

Heitinga also refused to rule out ending his career with former club Ajax in the Netherlands. "When? I don't have a clue," he said. "There's just one club I want to play for in Holland - Ajax."

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