Everton eye bright future after productive summer
There is definitely something in the air around Goodison Park at present and it isn’t just the scent of newly painted stands and freshly cut grass. Optimism and excitement are definitely the bywords for the Toffees after one of their most productive close seasons in years.
August 12th, 2014
Manager Roberto Martinez has been able to strengthen his squad over the summer and tie key players down to new contracts – all without having to sacrifice a key player to balance the books.
Player of the Year Seamus Coleman, England internationals John Stones and Ross Barkley as well as Martinez himself have all signed new deals over the summer to stay on Merseyside.
With that solid base intact, Martinez has recruited midfielders Gareth Barry from Manchester City and Muhamed Besic from Ferencvaros.
It was the permanent signing of Romelu Lukaku though that really raised eyebrows.
Everton smashed their transfer record to sign the Belgian for a fee that could rise to £28million – more than they have ever spent in an entire transfer window, let alone on one player.
The new bumper TV deal helped Everton fund the deal, but chairman Bill Kenwright also deserves credit for keeping a tight rein on finances while Martinez deliberately squirrelled away proceeds from the sale of a number of squad players over the past 18 months in order to cobble together enough cash.
Not since 2008 have Everton been able to spend in the transfer market without selling a key player first. That transfer policy obviously meant previous boss David Moyes and his side were frequently taking two steps back before they could make any strides forward.
After enjoying such a memorable season last year – accruing a club record Premier League points tally en route to finishing fifth – it would have been a huge setback to see Martinez’s side broken up at the first opportunity.
The result is a solid spine of young talented players on long-term deals complimented by experienced heads like Barry, Phil Jagielka and Tim Howard.
With Martinez also poised to utilise the loan market once again to add three further temporary names to the squad before the deadline, Everton appear to have both the quality and numbers to challenge for a Champions League place and maybe even end their 20-year long wait for a major trophy.
It is little wonder then that Everton fans – conditioned by years of underachievement – are quietly hoping this Premier League giant awakes from its stupor and finally delivers tangible success for the long-suffering supporters to savour.