Everton’s move to sign Monaco striker Lacina Traore on loan for the remainder of the season, which subject to a successful work permit application, is expected to be completed on Monday, is a further indication that Roberto Martinez is choosing to stockpile his financial resources in preparation for a summer transfer raid for Romelu Lukaku or whisper it quietly, Wayne Rooney.
The Ivorian striker will provide ample cover for Lukaku for the remainder of this season, but with money banked from the sale of Nikica Jelavic, to go with the unspent profit from the summer transfer window, Martinez is building a healthy war chest to propel Everton forward in the summer. Martinez is more than aware that he needs a world class strike force if he is to make Everton genuine title challengers and has set his sights on securing the signature of Lukaku on a long term contract.
Speaking to the Guardian on Friday, Martinez explained the latest situation with the Belgium striker.
“It’s not in the agreement [to discuss a January transfer],” he said. “The agreement we have with Chelsea is that we will wait until the end of the season and as parent club they need to be the ones that give us the hint if it’s possible or not. We want to keep Rom as long as we can…”
This is the first time that Martinez has hinted at a permanent transfer for the Chelsea striker who has made such a massive impact on Merseyside during his short stay. The mere mention of a summer deal is a huge boost to Evertonians who have become fond of Lukaku, a feeling that has been replicated by Lukaku himself.
Martinez spoke for the Belgium to say how much he is enjoying his time at Everton. But went on to say that due to the number of options Lukaku will have in the summer, Everton will probably need to finish in the top four if he is to be wearing Everton blue next season.
“He’s loving his time at Everton, he’s enjoying being at Goodison and his relationship with the fans.
“Rom is just focused on developing this season, being as good as he can be and trying to take Everton into the Champions League. That’s always in his head. I’m sure as a club we have a better chance of attracting players like Rom if we are in the Champions League than not. In my eyes we need to get into the Champions League to attract players like him.”
Martinez’ comments make games like Monday nights clash with West Brom even more important. With Liverpool drawing with Aston Villa on Saturday and Manchester United losing to Chelsea, Everton have a great opportunity to move fourth and increase the gap between the Blues and United.
It is difficult to know the kitty that Martinez will have at his disposal in the summer, but Champions League qualification will provide the Blues with significant financial reward. The clubs board have often been criticised for the lack of money provided to the clubs manager, but David Moyes always stated the board would do all they could to back him in the transfer market and there is no reason to believe Martinez will not receive their total support.