The re-signings of Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku show Everton mean business in terms of competing with the Premier League's big boys and boss Roberto Martinez should look to build a team around the young, but immensely talented, duo.
For too long Everton have been a team so close to challenging the established order of English football, only to sell on their prized assets when the elite came calling. The likes of Wayne Rooney, Joleon Lescott and Marouane Fellaini have all been sold on when huge offers came in from Champions League sides.
The confirmation that starlet Ross Barkley has inked a new four-year deal with the club, ending any speculation linking him with a big-money move to the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City, will have been a welcome boost to the Everton support keen to keep hold of their best players, particularly those who have been groomed from within the clubs own youth system.
Barkley, an Evertonian himself, has spoken of the hurt he felt when Wayne Rooney left the club for Manchester United in 2004 and has mentioned his desire to one day be revered at the club he loves as an Everton legend.
He has seen first hand how a move to pastures new may not always be advised, Jack Rodwell's once vast potential and development has stagnated since he made the switch from Goodison Park to Manchester City. At Everton, and particularly under the guidance and tutelage of Martinez, Barkley has the platform to continue to grow and showcase the talent which has had him referred to as the most exciting English talent since the emergence of Rooney over a decade ago.
In seasons gone by Everton have had to do their transfer shopping on the lower scale of the market with mixed success. For every Leighton Baines or Seamus Coleman brought to the club for low end transfer fees there have been the less successful likes of James Beattie and Per Kroldrup.
The club-record smashing £28m deal for Lukaku is a huge statement of intent for a club who's purse strings have been notoriously tight. After a successful loan period last season which saw the big Belgian striker score 15 league goals for the club, Martinez has been able to prize Lukaku away from Chelsea despite reported interest from the likes of Italian champions Juventus. Perhaps rashly dismissed by Jose Mourinho, Lukaku posses the potential to become one of the Premier League's leading front men and may just become a decision the self confessed 'Special One' lives to regret.
Martinez has been smart with his summer business, in the signings of Lukaku and Gareth Barry, he has ensured the core of the squad which served him so well last season has remained at the club permanently.
With the addition of Bosnian midfielder Muhammed Besic, and rumoured interest in further adding at least three players to his front line with a return swoop for giant Ivorian Lacina Traore muted, Martinez is developing a squad with a real quality core. Central to those plans are Barkley and Lukaku.
Although both players are incredibly young and raw, they have the potential to develop into players of the highest quality. Supported by the likes of Baines, Coleman, Kevin Mirallas and the increasingly impressive James Mccarthy, Martinez is slowly assembling a squad capable of really challenging the elite sides of English football.
The days of mediocrity and near misses at Goodison Park may just be numbered.
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