Everton are reportedly looking to bring in the experienced Gareth Barry from Manchester City on a one year loan deal that could turn into a permanent move next summer with the England international out of contract in 12 months time. But where does that leave current Everton player and (rather unfairly) recent whipping boy Leon Osman?
Just 6 months ago Leon Osman was the toast of the British press. The experienced and talented midfielder finally getting the recognition he deserved with a call up to three successive England squads witch earned the Academy graduate two England caps. Evertonians were quick to join the praise, proclaiming that Osman was long over due a call up and was enjoying one of the best spells in his career now that David Moyes had chosen to play him in his favoured central midfield position.
Fast forward to the present day and it would appear Leon Osman can do nothing right. It is hard to argue against those who suggest that he is awfully out of form, but that happens to the best players. It is rather surprising that he hasn’t fitted perfectly into the Martinez system. He has always looked to play the ball simple and with his exceptional close control he would appear perfectly adept for the Spaniards possession game. Indeed, members of the press were eager to point out that Osman had been neglected by the England international system for so long because his neat one and two touch football did not fit well with the wish of numerous England managers to get the ball forward as quickly as possible. Many do however feel the time has come to look at alternative options in midfield if Everton are to push on and genuinely challenge the top 4 sides in the Premier League.
In truth, Osman would have probably found himself sat on the substitutes bench at Norwich yesterday if it wasn’t for the injury which sidelined the increasingly influential Darron Gibson. The injury to Gibson did highlight the weakness (certainly in terms of numbers) in the Everton midfield and Martinez will look to remedy that in the closing two weeks of the transfer window.
I have no reason to doubt Martinez when he states that Fellaini will remain, but if the big Belgium is to leave, the Blues will utilise the funds to sign high quality replacements already identified by the new Everton manager. So where does that leave Everton and a potential bid for Gareth Barry?
Barry would bring great experience to the Everton midfield, not just in terms of his bank of Premier League appearances, but most importantly he is now use to winning regularly after 4 years at Manchester City. The England international has a Champions medal in his pocket and can bring that know how to the big games, games which Everton have struggled to win, especially away from home.
Barry is adept at playing the possession game that Martinez favours, although he is limited further forward. If he were to join the Toffees it would be as a defensive midfield player, competing with the likes of Gibson, Fellaini and dare I say it, Leon Osman for a place in the Everton starting eleven. Competition for places is essential if the Blues are to become the team we all want them to be and Gareth Barry would be a good signing for Everton.