Everton impress with early transfer moves
A ball has yet to be kicked this season but already Roberto Martinez is starting to win skeptical Evertonians around.
July 12th, 2013
The eminently likeable Spaniard was hardly an unpopular appointment when he strolled into the Goodison boardroom in June. But there were question marks hanging over his ability to step up to the task of replacing David Moyes.
We will, of course, have to wait until the start of the season before we can truly start to assess the impact Martinez has had on the Toffees. But his decisive action in the transfer market has been given the early seal of approval by supporters.
The first team, while talented, is paper thin and even the most minor of injury crises would cripple the club next term. Martinez spotted this quickly (it was hard not to) and revealed he wanted to bring in one player for each position.
The former Wigan boss managed to do just that in the space of 72 hours.
First, on Monday, Arouna Kone signed for £5million from Wigan Athletic. The next day, Antolin Alcaraz, who left the DW Stadium in May, reunited with his old boss on a two-year contract, while young goalkeeper Joel Robles signed for £650,000 from Atletico Madrid later the same day.
A solid week’s work was completed on Wednesday with the loan capture of Gerard Deulofeu from Barcelona. The 19-year-old Spain Under-20 international is highly rated by Barca but they were keen to get some regular football under his belt. Martinez’ Spanish connections clearly worked a treat here as the Catalans felt he was the best man to aid Deulofeu’s development over the next 12 months.
The speed at which Martinez has dealt with Everton’s squad deficiencies is a refreshing change to fans used to deathly quiet summers and frantic scrambles on deadline day – an annual routine that gave birth to a rather unkind “dithering Dave” moniker for Mr. Moyes.
A little perspective is still needed; after all, the new arrivals could all bomb spectacularly next year. It also pays to note that Martinez is fortunate in arriving at Everton when the bumper new TV deal kicks in, meaning they do not have to sell-to-buy for the first time since the summer of 2007. Would Moyes have behaved any differently with that extra freedom in the transfer market?
But, Martinez can still only be judged on what he has done so far and his early work looks clinical and well thought-out. With the squad up to a much healthier size, the task for the new boss now is to find some extra bits of quality in the transfer market, at a price within the club’s reach, to sprinkle on the top. A job easier said than done.
A Roberto Martinez report card a month into his Goodison reign would probably read “so far, so good”.
But given we are still in early July; there is a long way to go yet.