Stepping into David Moyes’ shoes is one of the toughest jobs in football - possibly after the one Moyes has himself, succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson.
That job is Roberto Martinez’s, and his predecessor is certainly not making it easy for him.
Everton have rejected an audacious bid of £28m from Manchester United for Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines, and if Martinez is to be successful at Goodison Park, it is vital he keeps hold of the duo.
The Toffees boss described the bid as a “waste of time”, which from several angles is difficult to argue with. Not only are Everton unlikely to easily yield two of their most influential players from their already minimalist squad, but the question must be asked as to whether United actually need the duo - especially considering reports claim they're willing to spend £35m on the pair.
Patrice Evra, a left-back like Baines, looked in fine form in United’s opening 4-1 victory against Swansea at the Liberty Stadium, while United have plenty of options in attacking midfield where Fellaini plays.
Blues’ Chairman Bill Kenwright has admitted to Everton’s financial dwarfism in comparison to the Premier League’s big guns, but with time running out to make any new additions, losing Baines and Fellaini can only make Everton a poorer side.
Kenwright has given Martinez his vociferous backing from the offset, and the Liverpudlian must now back the Spaniard all the way in keeping hold of the club’s prize assets.
Like Moyes, Martinez looked to his former club Wigan Athletic for his first signings, Arouna Kone and Joel Robles. What Martinez must remember, however, is that while he may have guided Wigan to FA Cup glory, they were also relegated last season and Kone and Robles may have been proverbial big fishes in a small pond.
Everton are in a period of transition, and their new manager will need time. As a 22-year-old Baines will have found, the move from Wigan Athletic to Everton is a big one.
The Toffees will be looking to challenge for Europe this season, but if they give in to United’s advances, they may as well wave goodbye to that possibility.
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