A Summer of Opportunity

By Louis Huglin  ::  06/06/2013

Roberto Martinez has finally been confirmed as the new Everton manager. While he had a poor defensive record at Wigan, there is no doubting his considerable achievements at both his former clubs. He has been lauded for years for his exciting, attacking football; for his studious approach to management of not just his team but every facet of his club; for his ability to keep control of tight finances; and for his knack for unearthing valuable young talent. The Everton job is a huge opportunity for Martinez to build on strong foundations and fulfil his promise. Similarly, Roberto Martinez is a huge opportunity for Everton Football Club. Moyes has left behind a solid base and a club looking up, not down; Everton must give its 14th manager the time, the financial backing and the public support to take the club forward.

As the excitement of 5 June 2013 dies down, transfer rumours are already spreading like wildfire through the gossip pages and the twittersphere. This has got me thinking about the current squad, its strengths, its weaknesses and where Martinez will likely be looking to build. What follows is an analysis of the current Everton squad and thoughts on where Roberto should focus his attention. If this summer is handled correctly by reducing the average age of the squad, bringing through exciting young talent both from inside and outside the club and by adding a couple of marquee signings, 2013/14 could be a watershed season for Everton) a springboard towards Martinez's ultimate goal of taking Everton into the Champions League.

GOALKEEPERS

Tim Howard (34) Most would agree that Howard was an astute signing, coming from Manchester United and costing the club £3m following a successful loan spell in 2007. He has been a solid ‘keeper throughout his time at the club, including a fantastic 2008-09 season when he set the club record for most clean sheets in a single term. I'll always remember those two penalty saves in the FA Cup Semi Final 2008 against Manchester United (his former employer)) perhaps Everton's greatest day out since the 1995 triumph against the same opponents. However, over the last couple of seasons, there have been questions asked. Mistakes have become more commonplace and have cost Everton key points. True, all goalkeepers make mistakes; it is the curse of the ‘keeper that their mistakes are so often punished with a goal, whereas outfield players can get away with most of theirs. But there is no smoke without fire.

Jan Mucha (30) Despite a brief flurry of appearances in the latter stages of the 2012/13 season, Mucha has been unable to experience much first team football since arriving at the club in 2010 on a free transfer. He has been an adequate understudy but his contract expires this summer and rumours suggest that his stay will not be extended. This will release wages (which are rumoured to be quite high) for other player acquisitions and his exit will not concern Evertonians.

Mason Springthorpe (18) Have heard good things about this lad but he is still very young. Potential is apparently there. Will hopefully get some game time next couple of seasons and we can see a bit more of him.

Mateusz Taudel - As with Springthorpe, too early to know much about this young ‘keeper. Anyone who goes to see the reserves got anything to add about these two?

Summary: Howard is a solid goalkeeper but replacing him should not be a short term priority. It was a shame Butland went elsewhere in January, as a good young ‘keeper like him is just what we need. If we were to delve into the transfer market now, we could do worse than Mignolet at Sunderland. However, Martinez should be looking, medium-term, to find a good young keeper who can perhaps break through to take the number 1 jersey in two to three years' time. Could Taudel or Springthorpe be up to the task? Time (and sporadic League Cup appearances) will tell.

DEFENDERS

Leighton Baines (28) The best player at the club. The most creative player in Europe last term. Can we hold onto him? If he does go, I would be shocked if it was for anything less than £20m. I'm sure we all hope he will stay; however, if he follows Moyes to United, Martinez will have a big problem and will need to either trust in Oviedo (who has shown potential) or delve into the transfer market for a replacement. I hear that Luke Shaw at Southampton has a big future…

Seamus Coleman (24) Came on leaps and bounds last season and ended as one of our best players. And he put in a MOTM performance for Ireland against England last week. Pacey, tricky, great going forward and can now defend very well to boot. Looks like he will be staying and is a guaranteed starter in the right back position for me. No issues here.

Phil Jagielka (30) Club captain; England centre back. Been at the club for years and will, I think, prove to be a fantastic captain. Got two or three good seasons left in him and will then need replacing.

Sylvain Distin (35) had another great season last year and seems to get better with age. However, a huge part of his game is strength and stamina (not to mention pretty impressive pace) and I fear these attributes will wane quickly during the 2013/14 campaign. This coming season will probably be his last for the Blues and a replacement is required quickly.

John Heitinga (29) A solid defender who has been unable to match his excellent 2011/12 season. Seems from murmurings in the press that he could be on his way out. Probably best for both parties as he is not in our top centre-back pairing and he wants first team football. Could cash in for £4-5 million, enough for a good young defensive prospect to replace him.

Tony Hibbert (32) Everton born and bred, Tony Hibbert has been a loyal servant to the club and, at times, has been a real rock of reliability. However, his advancing years and a couple of nasty injuries have taken their toll and Tony has fallen down the pecking order at Goodison; expect next season to be his penultimate or even his last. When he retires, he would surely be an excellent addition to the coaching team at Everton, in the mould of Stubbs and Weir.

Bryan Oviedo (23) We haven't seen much of Bryan but, when he has appeared, he has seemed pretty decent on the ball, quick, and with the ability to beat a man. If Baines does go it would be good to see Oviedo given a go at left back. You never know, he could turn out to be another astute Moyes signing and Martinez could be the one to reap the rewards.

Shane Duffy (21) Again, only fleeting glimpses of him have been afforded to the faithful this season. When he has appeared he has looked strong, good in the air and can play a pass. Tough to come in at centre back at such a young age, but he could thrive if given the opportunity next season and is a good backup option.

Jake Bidwell (20) Enjoyed a good spell out on loan at Brentford; not sure he'd be ready to step up to the Premiership just yet. Another season out on loan, this time at a Championship club, could really help his development.

Luke Garbutt (20) I've not seen or heard too much about young Garbutt; another player in the youth England set-up who has potential. Again, perhaps a loan spell would help him push on and give Martinez an indication of his true potential.

John Stones (19) Our big January signing, John Stones was impressive in the lower leagues and had received a lot of praise and tips for greatness. Can play at either right back or centre back; Moyes through he'd end up in a central position. Again, involved in the England youth system. Very young but if he's good enough expect him to make a few first team appearances next season.

Summary: Right now, Everton boast one of the better defences in the Premier League. Baines is arguably the best left back in the world; Jagielka is cementing a place in the England squad and has been made club captain; Coleman is emerging as a fantastic talent; and Distin has been, and still is, a superb and reliable centre back. The issue is that, beyond those four players, Everton lack strength in depth. This problem will be exacerbated if Heitinga leaves; and if Baines goes, Martinez will have some serious buying to do. The likes of Stones, Duffy and Oviedo could come in and do very well, but a mid-twenties experienced centre back is, in my opinion, an important purchase this summer. Rumours abound that Alcaraz will be joining on a free… is he good enough?

MIDFIELDERS

Marouane Fellaini (25) On his day, Marouane Fellaini is one of the best midfielders in the modern game. He's got it all: strength, tackling ability, great feet, superb passing range and an eye for goal. Let's not forget he was our top scorer last term (although this just highlights how poor Jelavic et al were). However he can be so, so frustrating. You know within 10 minutes of a game whether he has decided to show up or not. And, when he can't be bothered, he is a ball and chain for the rest of the team to drag around for 90 minutes, trying to keep him calm so he avoids silly tackles and red cards. He can be the team's greatest asset or its biggest liability. If another club were to activate his reported £24m release clause this summer, Martinez would have to ensure he bought an adequate replacement with the funds. Marouane would be a big loss to this Everton team; but, a loss I believe we can absorb provided the right replacement is brought in.

Darron Gibson (25) Darron missed half of the last season through injury and, it's fair to say, was a big miss. When he came from United last January he really added something to the team; patience, creativity and a knack for a great pass. He's also got a terrific shot on him and hopefully, after thigh surgery this summer, will be able to unleash that right foot more often. He can be guilty of silly lapses in concentration but, overall, he is a good player and should be one of the first names on the team sheet.

Leon Osman (32) One that really divides the fans in terms of ability but a player that all agree is a fantastic servant of the club. Some sublime performances early in the season merited an England call up and we were all made up for Leon) he deserved his cap. However, as always, he faded and was guilty of being very hit-and-miss in the second half of the season. He can just go missing in games. And his advancing years mean that he will probably only have a couple more seasons around the first team. Needs replacing in the next 12-18 months.

Steven Pienaar (31) A fantastic footballer on his day. Steven is very skilful and he links up superbly with Baines on the left - one of the most creative partnerships in the league. He can, like his midfield-counterpart Osman, go missing at times and, as he admits, he should score more goals than he does. I think he will stay at the club until the end of his top-flight career now and he will remain a first team player for the next year or two. If only he had an ounce of pace about him, what a player he could be…

Ross Barkley (19) Two or three starts at the end of last season gave us a glimpse of just how good Ross might become. That shot against Arsenal at the Emirates that whistled past the post… if only that had gone in! A very exciting prospect. Expect him to play a very big part in Everton's 2013/14 campaign; Martinez likes to bring young talent through and his attacking philosophy will surely mean more game time for Barkley. Expect Chelsea/United/City rumours to be flying by January, at which point he'll sign a new long term contract and thousands of Evertonians will pin all future hopes on his young shoulders.

Summary: Midfield is an area where we perhaps need most investment. There is a severe lack of strength in depth and, considering our system has seen us usually deploying 5 midfielders, this is a real cause for concern. Fellaini's expected departure will add significantly to a problem that already exists. I have omitted Naismith and Mirallas from this section because they are, by definition, forwards) both have played in advanced positions for Everton and for previous clubs (more about them below). There are players in the Everton academy that may come through in the next few years) Lundstrom, Kennedy, Green; however, the reality this summer is that Martinez must add at least two midfielders. We need a strong, creative central unit and we need a quick and exciting wide player.

FORWARDS

Nikica Jelavic (27) The enigma that is Nikica Jelavic… what to do with a striker that doesn't score goals? His early form was explosive; last season he was useless. Whether this was because he was asked to play in areas outside his natural scope or whether he just forgot where the goal was is by-the-by. Now, Martinez must make a decision. He can either persist with the Croatian or cut and run. Not sure we'd get that much for him if he was sold but we should expect to at least recoup the £5m we paid Rangers for his services.

Steven Naismith (26) Well, we did sign Naismith on a free and he does work hard. However, it seems plain to all that he is, at best, a mediocre squad player. He possesses no pace, frequently loses possession and seems to love nothing more than passing sideways or backwards. His redeeming features seem to be his work rate and his finishing, but I just don't think he is good enough to be a part of this team. He provides decent cover but his presence on the bench leads to the likes of Vellios and McAleny getting less game time. Martinez may be persuaded that Naismith should be sold; I'm sure that there'd be a few lesser Premier League clubs or Scottish teams that would be willing to stump up around £2m for him.

Kevin Mirallas (25) An exciting player who popped up with a few important goals last season and could be a key part of Martinez's team. If Mirallas can stay fit he could have a fantastic 2013/14. He can play wide right or up front; personally, I'd love to see him given a stint in the striker's role if Martinez can bring in a good right winger. He scored plenty for Olympiakos as a striker and can't do any worse than Jelavic did last term. His best years are ahead of him.

Victor Anichebe (25) Strong. Powerful. On his day, Big Vic can terrorise defences. Thing is, his day doesn't swing around very often and he seems to spend an alarmingly large amount of his time on his arse moaning about something or other. He's popped up with a few important goals and his game does seem to have come on leaps and bounds in the last 18 months. However, no one can seriously regard him as good enough to take this club forward. A decent option to have on the bench but, for me, he has reached his peak and is just not good enough. Would dominate the Championship if he went there.

Apostolos Vellios (21) From what we have seen of ‘Tolos, he's got great potential. Scored a couple with his head and a couple with his feet when coming on as a substitute and he is still very young. Would be good to see him get some game time next season so we can get more of an idea of his abilities. Good squad player.

Conor McAleny (20) Apart from a cameo at the Emirates in the 2011/12 season (where he very nearly scored a great volley), we haven't seen enough of Conor to come to any real conclusions. Hope his development continues and we find out more.

Summary: Roberto Martinez has targeted Champions League football. To achieve that, Everton need a proven goalscorer, someone to get the goals the team needs to push the top 4. 12 months ago we were made up with Jelavic and thought that, finally, we had found a striker to bridge the gap. Alas, 2012/13 has destroyed that dream. Jelavic endured a dismal season and may leave the club this summer. Therefore this position is another area in which Martinez must strengthen. We need that 20-goals-a-season striker if we are to push on. Kenwright has said he'll get his chequebook out this summer – it's up to Martinez and his staff to identify the best prospects and get the deals done.

DEPARTURES:

If rumours are to be believed, this summer we will be saying goodbye to Heitinga and Fellaini. This is in addition to Mucha, and to two players not mentioned above: Phil Neville and Thomas Hitzlsperger. The departure of these five players should free up circa. £200,000 per week of wages and £28,000,000 in transfer fees. Of these, only Fellaini would be a real miss, but is replaceable and Martinez transfer record would suggest he can find an adequate replacement for a fraction of the fee. The only other potential departure seems to be Leighton Baines. Evertonians would be devastated to see him leave at the peak of his career, but it could happen. If so, the club could reasonably expect to receive around £20m for the left back, and would save his purported £50,000+ per week salary. Add to this the £20m+ in TV revenue the club is receiving (although note that the club has reportedly already used this sum to securitise existing debt) and whatever funds were available in January for the aborted Fer deal, and Martinez should have a healthy transfer kitty with which to start building his team.

AREAS OF CONCERN:

Defence - If John Heitinga and Leighton Baines are to depart, serious strengthening of the defence will be a priority. Martinez's history of defensive frailty only heightens this concern. However, Coleman, Jagielka and Distin will still be available and should form a solid core but the two centre-backs are both at the tail-end of their careers. Everton should therefore prioritise bringing through one or two solid centre backs. Alcaraz has been mooted and is available on a free; Shane Duffy has impressed in rare cameos and could be a future star. Oviedo has also looked good when given the chance. Martinez must make at least one defensive signing this summer, and preferably two, to ensure that there is enough depth throughout next season.

Midfield - If Fellaini, as widely expected, leaves this summer then there will be a significant hole to fill in midfield. A powerful, box-to-box ball-winning midfielder will be required to break up opposition possession and start Everton attacks. Fer was lined up in January only to fall at the final hurdle (or whatever other physical test he fell down on in his medical) but is reported to remain keen. He could be a good addition. McCarthy at Wigan has impressed and seems destined for a Premiership club. The other concern in midfield is age of players; Osman and Pienaar are the wrong side of 30 and will need replacing soon. Barkley is an exciting prospect but won't be enough. Mirallas is a great wide player but can also play upfront so should not automatically be considered as a midfielder. Martinez needs, therefore, to sign at least two midfielders this summer) one to fill Fellaini's boots (should he depart) and one to add pace and guile out wide. McManaman looks a great prospect and Martinez could foreseeably raid Wigan for both him and McCarthy. McGeady has been suggested. All seem good options) let's hope McMartinez makes the right call.

Forwards - Jelavic had an awful season in front of goal. Martinez must decide quickly whether to persist with the Croatian striker and try to get the best out of him or whether to sell and buy a proven goalscorer from elsewhere. Good strikers are rare and expensive. We have Mirallas in the squad already, who excelled playing up front for Olympiakos and could succeed again in that role. Anichebe and Vellios are decent options, and McAleny may come good; however, if Martinez is serious and wants to crack the top four, a 15-20 goal-a-season striker is an absolute must.

So, Roberto: as an absolute minimum, I reckon you need two defenders, two midfielders and a striker this summer. These players should replace potential outgoing players, reduce the average age of the first team and add flair and goalscoring ability to an already solid squad.

I for one can't wait to see what the summer and next season will bring. Exciting times lie ahead… In Martinez We Trust.

back See other Fan Articles  :  Add your Comments back

Reader Comments

Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer


Peter Jones
779 Posted 06/06/2013 at 23:47:08
Very thorough Louis. I can't say I disagree with your assessment overall. If it is indeed Arsenal that is going to get Fellaini, we have to sign Victor Wanyama. He'd be my first choice to replace the big Belgian fro to boss the midfield. He's reportedly got an asking price of 10 million, which is totally fair given his immense ability at age 21. If your estimations of our transfer kitty are relatively close, that's well within our budget, especially for a potential superstar. Summer of opportunity indeed my friend!
Garry Corgan
780 Posted 07/06/2013 at 00:07:12
I agree with the vast majority of this. I'm concerned, however, our squad will age (and be sold off) quicker than we can raise the funds to replace players with equal quality - let alone improving the squad or adding much needed depth.

This article highlights to me just how much of a job Martinez has just to keep us in the top half for the next few seasons. I believe he's going to need to dismantle the current squad and rebuild for a challenge on the top four in three to four season's time.

Steve Carroll
790 Posted 07/06/2013 at 00:51:52
What's happened with Negredo? He was the best thing since sliced bread a while back. West Ham got knocked back with a bid, but surely now with RM's Iberian savvy, he should be on the radar?
Harold Matthews
812 Posted 07/06/2013 at 03:53:36
Peter. Can't see us getting Wanyama for £10million, He looks quite special.

Gary Corgan. Spot on. Martinez faces an enormous task, especially after our beloved chairman decided to publically raise the bar to Champions League level.

Eric Myles
816 Posted 07/06/2013 at 06:07:17
Louis, you're expecing us to sell our 2 best players and have circa ☼48 million transfer kitty?

In your dreams.

Kunal Desai
823 Posted 07/06/2013 at 06:51:16
I'd be happy to use the Fellaini and Heitinga funds to bring 2-3 quality players and maybe also another couple of squad fillers. If Martinez can work some magic here we could possibly have another good season. I think consolidation is important next season and that would be around 6th again. Then the following season push on for a potential CL place.
Adam Luszniak
889 Posted 07/06/2013 at 09:51:19
Eric if you disagree with Louis assessment of the clubs potential finances, what's your opinion on the matter?

Fer money (approx) £8m
Baines £15m
Fellaini £24m

That comes in at £47m, pretty close to Louis' estimation. That's using a conservative estimate for Baines' value. It also assumes that we see zero of the new tv deal (assuming like Louis has that this has already been swallowed by servicing debt)

If both the assumptions made above are wrong, and we do actually see some of the TV money, and Baines fetches the £20m the leagues' best left back deserves, we could be looking at more than that.

Adam Luszniak
890 Posted 07/06/2013 at 10:18:05
Apologies, I also forgot that that, as Louis suggests, we could be looking at £4-5M from the sales of Heitinga, so you can revise my previous estimation up.
Louis Huglin
905 Posted 07/06/2013 at 11:31:19
Just seen this in the Guardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2013/jun/05/everton-roberto-martinez-five-issues

Mentioned that there might be a time limit on Fellaini's release clause so that the clause can only be activated if a club bids early in the transfer window. All conjecture but an interesting thought and one that might help Martinez get funds for new players in nice and early.

Richard Dodd
906 Posted 07/06/2013 at 11:33:40
Not much to argue with in that synopsis of our players. It`s ironic that at a time when we have a surfeit of strikers, none of them seem adept at sticking it in the net!

Whilst I have never subscribed to the theory that Moyes ruined the breed, it will be interesting to see if Robbie can somehow coax a few more goals out of those he chooses to keep. I wish him well with Naismith!

Iain Thomson
922 Posted 07/06/2013 at 13:05:34
A good read, Louis, I'm just excited to see younger more creative forward-thinking players come in to compliment Mirallas, who I feel will flourish under Martinez, and Jelavic, who hopefully will become a striker again.

Some rumours about Gary Makay-Steven of Dundee United who would I'm sure be less the £2 million given the cash flow problems in Scottish football and has an epic amount of potential and ability. YouTube makes players look good of course but montages of his running with the ball and dribbling ability are genuinely exciting. A young hungry back-up for Pienaar on the left, he makes Maloney (who under Martinez has been excellent) look like Downing.

Sam Hoare
923 Posted 07/06/2013 at 13:11:57
Decent analysis, except I really don't think Vellios will add much. He did not score much for U-21s this season, unlike McAleny who was banging them in and I very much hope to see him get a chance this season.

Tom Bowers
937 Posted 07/06/2013 at 13:22:30
Well done Louis. This report has brought us all up to speed and sums up the strength and weaknesses very well. Certainly by this time next year there will have been quite a few changes.

Fellaini looks to be the first big one out the door but needs must and Everton could do a lot with the money. Hopefully Roberto will weed out the weaknesses that Moyes didn't and give a good run to people like Oviedo, Barkley, Duffy and Vellios. I believe all these players have a part to play and others who just didn't show up last season should be let go.

Anichebe, Jelavic, Osman and Naismith all work hard enough but sometimes hard work is just not good enough on its own. Duffy should now be primed to replace Distin who has been a great acquisition but is aging.

Paul Ellam
944 Posted 07/06/2013 at 13:30:42
There are a few scenarios that could play out and obviously affect what players we get in. Here is my take on it!
If we just have some of the TV cash plus the January cash and keep Fellaini and Heitinga then a winger and a striker seem most important to get (Sinclair/NZogbia/McGeady/McManaman) plus (Vossen/Pelle/Soldado)
If we sell Fellaini and Heitinga plus have the January cash and some TV cash then we can get more players. Smithies as cover for Howard, Lescott in to defence, Fer/McCarthy/Capoue/Wanyama to replace Fellaini and maybe 2 strikers from the above list.
If we sell Fellaini, Heitinga, Baines and get ALL the TV cash then sod it - let's buy from the above list and also get Rooney back!!
Gavin Wadeson
974 Posted 07/06/2013 at 15:07:17
I agree with Louis about Mirallas. He could be the striker the team desperately needs to take us to the next level. Martinez has already hinted that some of the players could flourish if they were played in different positions. It's an exciting prospect. Mirallas has great potential. Thierry Henry and Gareth Bale are obvious examples of how a change of position can have a positive impact.

Pienaar in midfield (instead of Osman) would be another obvious change. He could still link up with Baines, but he wouldn't let the opposition dribble past him as frequently as Osman does. I like certain aspects of Osman's game, but if you look at the stats, it's difficult to argue that he should be played there. Maybe the only position Leon could fulfill is playing behind the striker. Although, he would obviously face stiff competition from Ross Barkley for that position!

David Nicholls
991 Posted 07/06/2013 at 16:20:45
Regarding the midfield I really hope to see John Lundstram step up to the first team, I saw him on TV for England U 17's a couple of years back and he looked a class act. Fransico Junior didn't look half bad in pre season either. I also agree that Pienaar could be moved in-feld to play Osman's role. I love Ossie but he needs resting as I still think a fresher Osman would offer a great deal. If Fellaini goes or not we still need an athletic centre mid, perhaps we could resurrect a deal for Vadis Odija-Ofoe or Lerot Fer.
Harold Matthews
998 Posted 07/06/2013 at 16:08:33
An ex-pro was chatting on the radio the other day. I tuned in too late to get names.

Anyway, he said that he and his mid-field mate did so much running for the star playmaker that they both started off at 6'-3" and ended up at 5'-4".

It immediately reminded me of Pienaar and Osman running around for Gibson. By the time they got themselves into attacking positions they were too knackered to operate at full strength. Moyes was always aware of this and appreciated their work-rate but, unfortunately, many fans gave them a hard time. Football, it seems, can be a very cruel game.

Eugene Ruane
005 Posted 07/06/2013 at 16:55:37
Harold (998) - On a plane to New York many years ago, I got talking to our old (one goal in a season I think) striker, Mickey Walsh. At first it was a little awkward as I couldn't go through all his great Everton performances coz he hadn't produced any.

Nevertheless he was very pleasant and outgoing and we talked about his five (I think) daughters that were born after some special fertilization thingy, plus his time in Portugal, which had been very successful and lucrative.

One thing, re his time with us I DO remember though, was him saying "I really regret things didn't go better at Everton, maybe they would have if I hadn't had to do all fat Latch's running". He was joking but I thought he was probably serious too. Nice feller though.

Liam Reilly
007 Posted 07/06/2013 at 16:30:24
Losing the plot folks over the £48M that RM will have to spend.

If Fellaini does indeed depart, expect the creditors and banks to get their share and the sell on payment to Liege remaiins undisclosed. The remainder may go to RM but would also has to cover signing on fees, agent fees and wages for a number of players to increase the squad depth.

The £8M for Fer is just fantasy; no doubt agreed in installments with probably £2M down.

I reckon we'd be lucky to spend over £15M in this window and that's with Fellaini's departure.

Hope I'm wrong, but RM is here because he can do a good job on a budget. same will be expected at Goodison.

Dave Lawley
078 Posted 07/06/2013 at 19:58:59
Well done Louis, alot of work gone into that and I can't argue with much, although I thought Luke Shaw was a right back, not a left?

Iain Thompson - that lad Gary Mackay-Steven does look the fuckin mustard! a lot of potential there if he can keep performing technique like that in SPL games, the Scottish Messi! It's just a surprise if he's doing things like that in games nobody has really heard of him/picked him up yet, is the rest of his game as impressive? anyone seen him play a full game?

Sean Patton
080 Posted 07/06/2013 at 20:47:49
Why have we all forgotten the stunning talent that is Magaye Gueye he is still on the books you know, I hope he has not been locked inside the bogs at Finch Farm.
Anthony Flack
087 Posted 07/06/2013 at 20:50:29
Dean forget Gueye, Reading or Palace sort of player. Wank really never forgiven him for Liverpool semi cameo when he was slow ponderous and and toss. M.
Eric Myles
145 Posted 08/06/2013 at 01:04:24
Adam #889, we never had £8 million for Fer, which is why we never got him.

We are losing ~£20 million per year without player sales so any money from that source will cover the losses first and foremost.

Eric Myles
148 Posted 08/06/2013 at 01:11:35
Liam #007, a dose of realism at last.
Phil Sammon
150 Posted 08/06/2013 at 01:55:34
Louis

Lots of great points there and a more thorough article I could not wish for. A few points though if I may. You seem keen for us to develop our youth but admit to not having seen enough of them. A combination of free admission, a girlfriend from Southport and bags full of spare time have enabled me to see white a lot of U21 games over the last year. So, a brief appraisal.

GOALKEEPERS:

It's a very hard one to judge. I've always thought that being a keeper is more about concentration and mental awareness than raw ability. Any keeper that reaches the fringe of a PL football team has bags of ability, but how do they cope on the big stage? Well, we don't know. Mucha played a few games and did fine. Came into the first team and did very well, and was then dropped. The other lads did fine in the 21's too. Part of me would have liked Butland...but he would have spent at least a year on the bench. If we're buying anyone I think it should be someone better than Howard.

DEFENCE:

The standout performer has to be Duffy. He's a leader, big, strong and surprisingly prolific in the opponent!a box. He will be a PL footballer, I have no doubt about that. However, his pace is a huge concern. If you think Heitinga against Benteke was bad...well I'm pretty sure Heitinga could spin young Duffy and leave him for dead. There are a few players who can make up for that lack of pace, like John Terry, and that comes with experience. I just don't see how Duffy is going to get it. He also has the worst distribution I've seen in a long time, which could be even more of an issue under Martinez.

Browning partnered Duffy for much of the season. Strong, quick, received plaudits actually, but I just don't see him making the grade.

Stones looked good, but he is a very very young lad. He really looks his age. Tall but so slight. I really wished we'd let him stay on at Barnsley where he was blossoming into a top player for them. He will be good though - a centre back in years to come.

It's half 2 and I'm off to bed. I might finish this in the morning...but I literally can't keep my eyes open.

Harold Matthews
154 Posted 08/06/2013 at 02:54:44
Nice one Eugene.
Jackie Barry
155 Posted 08/06/2013 at 03:17:49
I thought BK had said any money generated from player sales will go to Martinez, so if Fellaini is sold he should have a bit at least. I also think there will be some based on the increased revenue and reduced wages from players leaving the club, it should be an interesting summer to say the least because I can't see our new boss waiting around till the last minute.
Drew Shortis
194 Posted 08/06/2013 at 10:19:48
I have to, reluctantly, agree with secret agent Liam Reilly 007 about the transfer funds. If we lived in a Football Manager (the game) world then the finances would be much easier to predict. I think that in reality there are so many factors that will eat into the potential plot the final sum available will be less than we imagine.

That's not to say that we don't have a transfer fund already (from the Fer money) and that this hasn't been topped up somewhat by the TV money. If Heitinga goes for £4m there will be more transfer money. Also the savings in wages (from Moyes, Neville, Heitinga, Mucha and Hitzelsperger) give us some leeway. There seem to be three scenarios:

1) Baines and Fellaini stay and Martinez strengthens the squad with one or two reasonable priced signings and some freebies and loans. This would have to be my preferred scenario as we retain two top quality players who would cost a fortune to replace.

2) Fellaini departs giving Martinez's transfer kitty a huge boost (£22m minus any sell on clause with Standard) plus the money mentioned in the first post. Fellaini is replaced with a player costing £7-10m (Fer etc...) and there is enough left over to try and secure a striker. This seems the most likely of the three.

3) Fellaini and Baines leave and Martinez gets the majority of that to spend. This would mean we could go on a proper spending spree which would be exciting, but finding two players of equal quality is a big ask. For me this would be the worst case scenario, but I'm pretty confident that Baines will stay, especially if we use some of the surplus wage money to offer him a lucrative new contract that reflects his importance to the team.

Although I love speculating about who Martinez will bring in, it is a fairly pointless exercise as he is bound to keep his cards close to his chest. Whatever happens it will be one of the most exciting transfer windows in recent years!

Very interesting article Louis! Its great to see such a well considered analysis. I tend to agree on most points. Good read!

Lee Courtliff
197 Posted 08/06/2013 at 11:26:31
There is no way we will get £20m for Baines. He is 29 later this year and will have no real sell-on value. £12m tops. And for that I wouldn't sell.

I doubt Leighton is the type to 'force through' a move.

I say that quite confidently even though I've never met him!! He could be a right touchy bastard??

Tim Jones
198 Posted 08/06/2013 at 11:31:42
If Baines goes, we have already got Oviedo.
Guy Hastings
199 Posted 08/06/2013 at 11:42:26
Timing is everything — it's no good selling whoever for whatever once the season has started. Business (if it is to be done) must be done very early on. Once those millions land in BK's coffers, the longer they stay they, the thinner the chances of getting them out again — unless the banks or P Green come calling...
Richard Dodd
201 Posted 08/06/2013 at 11:54:44
Drew @ 194. If the Fer money was ever there! Didn`t the transfer fall down because the stage payments proposal BK put forward were totally unacceptable?
Gavin Ramejkis
205 Posted 08/06/2013 at 12:26:58
Goalkeeper wise we could do with looking at players like Bernd Leno currently on loan to Bayer Leverkusen from Stuttgart, he looks like a great keeper. The squad is ageing fast and needs a refresh, certain players from the youth squad need to be tried and the likes of Barkley won't improve catching splinters. A shrewd purchase of some cheaper alternatives and I would also give Mirallas a shot up front.
Drew Shortis
206 Posted 08/06/2013 at 12:25:37
True Richard. I guess it wasn't going to be a lump sum payment for Fer, but in principle those funds must have been available and if we now have a lighter wage bill and some extra TV money we should be in a stronger position to bid on players.

Someone suggested there was a time limit in each window for the Fellaini clause. If that is true that was a very good idea and goes some way to make up for the under valuation of the player. At least that way if someone comes in for him and he does decide to we have time to find a replacement and won't be forced to pay a desperation premium on deadline day. Hopefully this part of the clause it real, though I would rather it was not put into use!

John Brereton
208 Posted 08/06/2013 at 13:03:26
Please, please, please do not sign Aidan McGeady!!!
Iain Thomson
209 Posted 08/06/2013 at 12:58:28
Dave, He was on Liverpools books as a kid and trialed at Fuhlam before coming back up to Scotland starting again in lower division before Dundeee Unt picked him up.. have friends who are season ticket holders there who rave about him. Hes 22 and unlike MacFadden has pace. Another young dundee unt player was just bought by Deerby for 700,000....they cannot refuse any kind of cash bid on their players. I hope we sign him..even if hes a gamble for the fee and wages its worth taking
Jim Knightley
210 Posted 08/06/2013 at 13:10:41
Lee...City just paid 30mil ish for a 28 year old...unproven in this league. We will not sell Baines for less than 15million, for arguably both the best defensive and offensive left back in the league, who statistically created the most opportunities in the division last season? But I think it's all irrelevant...imo, we won't let Baines go, because Baines is more than just a left back for us.
Iain Thomson
211 Posted 08/06/2013 at 13:15:42
I want to sign someone who has upside not Mcgeady, he is as good as he will ever be, lacks end product and is on bonkers wages in Russia so would not be viable I don't think. Martinez seems to have unearthed decent players whop aren't overly well known. I hope he does that for us people talk about players we have all heard of for 10 million or whatever, I would rather we signed young hungry players with upside who will grow in stature and value. Sign someone who is how Mcgeady was when he was 20 and hope he turns out better. Gary Mackay-Steven for example or some randoms who none of us are aware of.
Iain Thomson
212 Posted 08/06/2013 at 13:22:21
I'm Scottish and try to give Naismith the benefit of the doubt but last night, in the miracle that was Scotland beating Croatia, he came on and achieved nothing, he lost possession every time he got it...

It was really quite incredible; to The Championship for £2 million, job done.

Ian Bennett
214 Posted 08/06/2013 at 13:09:26
He'll probably bring in Joel the young keeper he had on loan at Wigan.

The side needs a new spine imo, so don't rule out Jelavic joining Heitinga and Fellaini through the exit door. Around £35m to £40m can be wisely spent on 4 to 5 players, plus the wages that have been freed by the released boys.

Moyes did well with the squad he had, but trips to Portugal to sides with smaller budgets shows that the Premiership does not get value for the £s it spends on mostly average players.

I look forward to the summer ahead. I hope we keep Baines, bring in a new centre half, a striker, a box to box midfielder or two, and another Mirallas type.

Howard
Coleman
Baines
Jags
New cb

Gibson
New/Barkley
New midfielder

Mirallas
New winger
New mobile forward


Bench
New gk
Distin
Hibbert
Osman
Pienaar
Victor
Oviedo
Duffy
Naismith if he can't be sold
Stones

Harold Matthews
242 Posted 08/06/2013 at 15:11:15
Louis. After reading all the above posts my head is whirling like a top. So much so that I've decided to put the kettle on and settle for your final sentence.

"In Martinez we trust."

Colin Glassar
266 Posted 08/06/2013 at 17:38:54
Martinez has been at the club for almost a week now and is still yet to sign anyone? What's going on? I thought we'd have had at least a freebie by now. Come on Roberto, get BK's cheque book out.
Eric Myles
416 Posted 09/06/2013 at 01:32:20
Colin, the window isn't open yet so he can't sign anyone.
Colin Glassar
419 Posted 09/06/2013 at 02:01:18
It was tongue in cheek Eric but, other teams are buying players.
Bobby Thomas
454 Posted 09/06/2013 at 08:48:57
Eugene

I seem to remember you mentioning that in WSAG!

No doubt serious about Latch as well.

Although why Harold thinks Gibson, as a deep holding player should be charging around the pitch is beyond me.

The position is about positional discipline and distribution.

Kieran Fitzgerald
461 Posted 09/06/2013 at 08:55:17
Martinez came into the job with his eyes open regarding the club's finances. He knows there won't be a large transfer kitty waiting for him. I still think that regardless of who the manager is, it will still be a case of sell before you buy. Yes, players retiring or being let go due to contracts expiring will ease the wage bill, but I can't see Martinez being handed a large pot of cash without a catch or list of conditions.

For me, one of the positive things that Moyes has left is that there is value to be had on a limited budget. We don't have wads of cash to throw around so Martinez should be asked to follow Moyes' lead.

I think that Martinez has come into the job with his eyes open in terms of the finances. He may been promised money to get him in the door.

Alasdair Mackay
492 Posted 09/06/2013 at 10:39:50
I'm bracing myself to get shouted at here -

I think Anichebe can take the club forward.

Not on his own, but with someone like Mirallas alongside him or as the central striker in the ever popular 4-5-1 / 4-3-3 formation that is currently very trendy (as if Everton didn't invent it in the 60s, but hey-ho).

Everything up to last season he was either injured or frozen out due to his own immaturity; but crucially he lacked confidence.

Last season he was injured for a couple of months and spent an inexcusable amount of time as back-up to a mis-firing Jelavic, and yet he still scored 9 goals and put the fear of god into any defender he cam up against.

With the fans behind him and his tail up from a vastly improved season, and with Jelavic now disposed of his automatic starting place next year could really be the year of the Vic. He has all the tools.

Great article, though, Louis. Well done.

And also - I think we should sell Fellaini and use that plus the Heitinga money and whatever was in the pot already (say a total of £35m). For that I would get McManaman and McCarthy from Wigan for a total of £20m, Pick up a keeper on a free as back-up to Tim Howard. If we get Alcaraz on a free as well it gives us another £15m to add strength in depth. I would add 3 £5m players. Two midfielders and a forward.

Dave Watson
496 Posted 09/06/2013 at 11:10:12
Wanyama is about £25 million according to some people. Kenwright said RM would have all money from player sales. Time will tell. Great article Louis.
Mike Allison
497 Posted 09/06/2013 at 10:49:40
Wigan's best player last season, by far, was Shaun Maloney. If we're going to buy anyone from them, it should be him. None of the others were good enough.

I actually think a new manager, style, and possibly emphasis/philosophy will see Jelavic come good this season. Last year he lost confidence and things snowballed from there, until he eventually lost his place in the side. It could be very different this year.

Louis your original article is pretty much spot on I think. Next year either Fellaini and Gibson must form a central partnership, or Fellaini will be sold and a replacement (Fer sounds like a good signing) will do that. Osman should be kept in and around the squad as I am a fan and think he brings a lot to us, but it will be as a sub and through rotation rather than in our strongest XI.

I know how you feel about Mirallas down the middle, but I think he's done so well out wide, and we've waited so long (Moyes' entire tenure) for someone to excite us down the right wing, that I don't want to change it. I think Pienaar, Mirallas and one other (for me Maloney at the moment) should form an interchangeable three behind Jelavic.

We seem to be counting up to around £50M to spend, hopefully only £30M as Baines will stay, but I don't want to bring in too many at once. I think 3 quality players will be all, and there may be something left over for January if we identify a need at that point.

The final thing we don't know much about is how the young players already at the club will fare under Martinez. I was a Moyes fan and regularly defended him against criticism on this site, but I was frustrated by how little we saw of apparently promising young players. Duffy, Francisco Junior, Barkley, Vellios and McAleny will all be looking at this as a fresh start, and Garbutt, Bidwell, Lundstram and Kennedy may even look to poke their heads above the parapet this season. Amongst those 9 names, I think we may realistically find 2 or 3 new first team players under a manager who is, we all hope, going to be less conservative than his predecessor.

I guess its probably the time of year, and the sun has been shining all week, but I can't help feeling optimistic about next season. My only big worry is whether we'll retain the consistency in league performances that we had come to expect under Moyes.

I expect us to start the season with a fairly similar line-up to how we finished last. (4-2-3-1) Howard; Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Gibson, Fellaini/New Signing (Fer?); Mirallas, New Signing (Maloney?), Pienaar; Jelavic. Subs will be from a new centre back signing, the young players above, Osman, Anichebe and another new signing for the creative 3 behind the strikers. I believe this is where we fail in comparison to our rivals Tottenham and Arsenal, as they always have creative options on the bench for when things aren't going well, whereas we rarely do, and have been bringing on Naismith instead.

Colin Glassar
502 Posted 09/06/2013 at 11:31:00
Mike, I like Maloney I think he's a very talented player but he is 30 isn't he and I think Martinez wants to drop the average age of the team. So, unless we get him on the cheap I don't see it happening.
Kieran Fitzgerald
506 Posted 09/06/2013 at 11:29:54
If there is a clear out of players, it will be interesting to see who Martinez sees as being surplus to requirements.

Players like Osman, who would have gotten a game under Moyes even if both his legs fell off in the warm up, must be felling a little nervous. At his age, while not past it, he may get offered a bit part role only at best. Does he accept this or look to go elsewhere for regular football.

Players like Hetinga, whom many fans thought was going during each successive window, may suddenly become a permanent fixture under Martinez.

Tony Hibbert is another. What will happen to him? While not the regular he once was, he still has something to offer but he may not be third choice behind Coleman and Stones. Would he want to stay?

Andrew Cutler
715 Posted 10/06/2013 at 02:18:46
Good analysis. I am thinking that Jelavic is the first to be let go... like the guy as a person but my gran is a better finisher than him.

Similarly Anichibe... thanks but no thanks, off you go son.

Heitinga ditto. And that's about it. We probably need the Fellani money to get decent replacements, I guess...

Actually, I am VERY excited for the new season. I had massive respect for DM but we (and him) needed a change. I think Roberto is going to be a special manager for our mighty club.

Harold Matthews
017 Posted 11/06/2013 at 15:33:46
Bobby (454). Gibson is an "untouchable". I realise this. The fans adore him. They call him "Gibbo". Say one word against him and everyone has a fit. Yes, I know he has a good football brain, passes the ball well and likes to move it forward. All good stuff. I love it.
Unfortunately, his total possession time adds up to about 7 minutes and he does next to nothing in the other 83. Don't tell me he tackles because he doesn't. Don't tell me he makes surging runs from the back because he doesn't. Don't tell me he scores goals because he doesn't.

In the old days I admired Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira.

Today I like Bastion Schweinsteiger, Javi Martinez, Xabi Alonso, Arturo Vidal, Sergio Busquets, Sami Khedira, Alex Song and Daniele De Rossi.
They pass the ball beautifully, tackle like tigers and score goals. Michael Essien is another. So too Ya Ya Toure if called on to play deep.

At Everton the only one capable of playing that role would be Fellaini but Moyes seldom gave him the chance.

In the mid-seventies Malcolm Allison said that one day the game would be dominated by great athletes and that seems to be the way it's heading. Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and the present under21 performances of Spain, Germany and The Netherlands perfectly illustrate this. Highly skilled, physically strong players, flying around at top speed from start to finish and regaining possession within seconds. Breathtaking stuff.

Gibson is a decent footballer but does he suit the modern game? I'm not sure he does. Moyes would have preferred Leroy Fer but couldn't get him. Next season is a whole different ball game and if Gibson is a big success I'll be delighted.

Andrew Ellams
024 Posted 11/06/2013 at 16:59:32
Very few members of our squad are top 4 quality, in fact probably only 4 so very few should consider themselves untouchable. Unfortunately due to our financial status and the fact that we will probably need to sell one of the 4 to strengthen the squad as a whole, players like Gibson, Howard and Pienaar are probably the best we can expect in the present time
David Israel
065 Posted 11/06/2013 at 16:07:33
Great piece, Louis. Congratulations!

Now, on Jelavic, he's probably not as good as he looked when he arrived, but neither do I think he's as poor as he showed himself to be this past season. I would hang on to him, even more so as he'd never be sold now for more than what he cost.

I'm sure Fellaini will go, and that will give RM money to strengthen. Hopefully, Baines will stay.

I am worried about the ageing Howard and Distin. Some money should be spent in those two positions. I am not sure about Duffy, people tell me he's slow...


PS Eugene Ruane, I also once met Mickey Walsh. He did have a great time in Portugal, but am I right in saying he joined Porto from Q.P.R., and not from ourselves?

Add Your Comments

In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.

» Log in now

Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.



© ToffeeWeb