After a glorious season at Goodison Park, Everton manager Roberto Martinez has left no one in doubt of his abilities.
After guiding Wigan to FA Cup glory, the Spaniard joined Everton last season and narrowly avoided Champions League qualification, an idea scoffed at by even the Everton board at the start of the campaign. Now, as the season ends Martinez will have to append to his team while retaining his stars of tomorrow to ensure success next season.
Everton have earned themselves a reputation for being a stable team without a big budget. Over the years the team has been a home to many stars, including Wayne Rooney and Leighton Baines. David Moyes managed to successfully steer an even course for more than a decade. Last season Martinez was appointed successor and under his leadership, the team holistically grew in prowess. Both individual players and the team as a whole displayed incredible determination.
Sadly in the end their lack of squad depth cost them the coveted Champions League qualification spot, but the achievement of Europa League football next season will be a bonus.
However as the transfer season arrives, poachers have started to gather. The Toffees’ homegrown stars like Ross Barkley, Seamus Coleman and John Stones have attracted interest from the big clubs in football on account of their stellar performances this season.
Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and even PSG are rumoured to be in the race to sign one or more of the stars. United are thought to be looking to sign Baines while John Stones seems to be on Mourinho’s agenda after Ashley Cole’s departure and the (probable) failure to lure Southampton’s Luke Shaw.
Barkley, who has earned himself the appellation of the ‘next Rooney’ is believed to be at the heart of it all with all the big English clubs clambering to secure his signature. There have been some positive signs however.
Martinez was quoted saying: "I would not sell even if we got a huge bid. It would be wrong for him.
Roberto Martinez needs, along with the backing of the board, to show his grit in face of this adversity. He must not let go of his talented youngsters and also his experienced veterans. Martinez also needs to focus on making permanent some of his loanees, most notably Romelu Lukaku and Gareth Barry. Everton’s style of play has been lauded by many and to secure the integrity of his team and club, the manager needs to prevent departures to greener pastures.
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