Everton – They Keep Pushing On
So what can actually change in 12 months? Quite a lot if your Everton football club. Following David Moyes’ decision to take the job at Old Trafford; which we won’t get in to, the Merseyside club has been fortunate enough to have Roberto Martinez at the helm. The eloquent Spaniard is someone who has done nothing but gain plaudits during his time in England, so when he was appointed by Chairman Bill Kenwright, there was a true sense of optimism around the club – and rightly so.
During his short time at the club, Martinez has transformed them into an unrecognizable side to that of his predecessor Moyes, in terms of style and approach anyway. He has taken the same core of players and allowed them the freedom to express themselves in a way in which the Goodison Park faithful didn’t think they were capable of. The praise does not just stop there. The former Swansea player and manager has also shown how shrewd he can be in the transfer market. While everyone was watching Marouanne Fellaini leave for Manchester, Everton were doing there own business by signing Wigan’s James McCarthy for a fraction of the price, and completing loan deals for Gareth Barry and Romelu Lukaku, all three of which went on to have great seasons. With the emergence of young England internationals John Stones and Ross Barkley and a fifth place finish in the Premier League and a Europa League spot waiting; it is fair to say the 2013-14 season has to be seen as a huge success.
So what now?
They keep pushing on.
First completing the signing of Gareth Barry following his release from Manchester City, then breaking the club transfer record to make the Lukaku deal permanent, both signs of intent from the club. Both players were instrumental in the form of the club last season, and being a regular fixture will no doubt make a different. Its not just big money signings, which make you a good club these days, it is also keeping your best players. With Stones, Barkley and Coleman all signing long-term deals it is fair to say they believe in what Roberto Martinez is doing. Now throw into the mix 2 players who were key to their nations at the World Cup in Brazil. Christian Atsu of Ghana and Muhamed Besic of Bosnia. The loan deal of Atsu from Chelsea will be interesting, the flying winger will give Everton a much needed injection of pace in the wide areas, and he would have seen how successful it was for Lukaku last season. The permanent deal of Besic gives the Toffees a different dimension, the hard-tackling midfield man might just give them the steal they need in some horrible Thursday nights in the cold of Russia when the Europa League.
This season will test the depth of Martinez’s squad for sure. With 4 competitions to play for, Everton will fancy their chances of silverware but only if they can find the right balance. With more youngsters such a Luke Garbutt, Tyias Browning, Chris Long and Conor McAleny hoping to breakthrough this season, their squad could be a lot stronger than others perceive it to be. Only time will tell but I think the season ahead will be sweet for the Toffees.