Kevin Mirallas’ departure from Everton wasn’t a surprise – he was on the periphery at Goodison Park, had been made available for sale and had lofty salaries that Marcel Brands wanted off the wagebill. However, the 31-year-old revealed days ago in an interview with Het Laatste Nieuws (h/t Sport Witness) that his move was for family reasons.
Mirallas said: “Half a year ago, I decided to return to Belgium for family reasons. Antwerp pushed through the hardest. In March and April, I was once together with my wife, my children and my manager. The conclusion was that after sixteen years, it was time to move closer to home.
“My family had seen it a bit abroad. Moreover, one day, I wanted to play in the Belgian first class. As a little boy, that is what you initially dream of. On the emotional level, it does something to me. Of all the Belgian clubs, Antwerp pushed the hardest. All parties involved have made an effort. I am glad it worked.”
Sport Witness note that Mirallas was very keen on turning his loan move to Fiorentina permanent last season, so was he really looking to return to Belgium at that time? It’s natural for a player to praise their new club’s efforts in signing them, but it’s hard to know if a return to his homeland was genuinely part of Mirallas’ plan.
His Everton career has been over for a while, with his last appearance coming against Southampton on November 26, 2017, but Mirallas was struggling to find a suitor. The 31-year-old’s poor form in the last 12 months – two goals in 15 games for Olympiacos (2017/18) and two goals in 30 games for Fiorentina (2018/19) – may be the reason why clubs were steering clear.
Mirallas didn’t have his pick of sides this summer, so his options were always limited from the start. He ended up in Belgium, but whether it was his first choice remains to be seen.