Roberto Martinez has acted quickly and decisively to add quality and depth to the Everton squad and he has certainly put a smile on the faces of Evertonians. Four signings in the space of three days would have been unthinkable under the previous regime, but Roberto; backed by the Everton board has moved to build on the solid foundations put in place by previous manager David Moyes.
David Moyes has undoubted abilities as a manager, attributes which have secured him the top job at one of the biggest football clubs in the world. However, Moyes was indecisive in the transfer market, seeking to get the maximum return from every pound he spent. At times he missed out on very good players as opposition managers moved swiftly to tie up deals with Moyes still taking time to consider his options. The tag of “Dithering Dave” was a little harsh, but the enthusiasm and energy that Martinez has brought to the transfer market has made a more than refreshing change. Martinez has quickly assessed his inherited Everton squad and moved positively to bring in high quality re-enforcements and at the same time brought a feel a good factor to Everton, not seen at Goodison Park since the summer of 2006, when Tim Howard, Joleon Lescott and Andrew Johnson all arrived at Everton by the beginning of July.
You could argue mitigating factors, but Martinez is not suddenly operating with a radically different transfer budget to the one previously enjoyed (or endured) by Moyes. Funds remain tight, but Martinez has used the limited resources creatively, and if rumours and speculation are true, still has a modest transfer budget remaining to capture two or three further targets. Chelsea’s Victor Moses is very much on Everton’s radar, with discussion underway between the two clubs. It is believed that Martinez would prefer a loan deal with an option to buy, whereas Chelsea, who under the management of Jose Mourinho, feel that Moses is surplus to requirements, would like to recoup much of the £10 million they paid Wigan for his services, less than 12 months ago. Martinez is also considering options in central midfield, but targets in this area remain a closely guarded secret.
Martinez’ transfer strategy could change quickly should the club decide to cash in on star names, Leighton Baines and Mauroane Fellaini. Martinez has openly declared his desire to retain the two at Everton next season and will fight to fend off Manchester United’s interest in England left back, Baines. Fellaini does have a release clause in his contract at £24 million, but for now, most clubs seem reluctant to activate that figure and therefore both players are currently in Austria, preparing for the new season with Martinez and Everton.
The first pre-season friendly kicks off on Sunday evening, with Austria Vienna the opposition. Joel (Robles) is expected to start that game in goal and Alcaraz is likely to play some part in the match as a central defender. Other new arrivals, Kone and Deufoleu are yet to join up with the squad, but will join the team prior to the trip to America at the end of July.
The summer has been one of smiles and excitement and four new players have already signed with more expected before the first ball is kicked in anger at Carrow Road in August.