Everton Transfer Focus – Attention on outgoings after Martinez signs four

After the storm of four new arrivals in a couple of days, all is largely quiet on the Everton transfer front. Roberto Martinez has added Arouna Kone, Antolin Alcaraz, Joel Robles and Gerard Deulofeu, but now the attention has again turned to speculation of who might leave Goodison Park this summer.

Chief candidates, as usual, are Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines, attracting attention from perennial suitors Arsenal and Manchester United respectively, although Fellaini is also said to be on the shortlist of former Everton manager David Moyes at Old Trafford. The Belgian’s contract clause that sets a price of around £23m for a Champions League club expires days before the first game of the new season and as yet, none of Martinez’s confirmed transfers have been a pre-emptive attempt to replace Fellaini – or Baines, for that matter.

But Martinez’s quartet does provide the manager with greater flexibility in the squad. Everton now have the option of a number of strikers – Kone, Nikica Jelavic and Victor Anichebe – a fine array of wingers – Deulofeu, Kevin Mirallas and Steven Pienaar – and four experienced centre-backs – Alcaraz, Phil Jagielka, Sylvain Distin and John Heitinga. Goalkeeper Joel, meanwhile, will keep Tim Howard honest with a view to replacing the United States international – more than 10 years Robles’ senior – in the long-run.

Martinez was a tactically flexible boss at Wigan and his new signings can help towards continuing that trend in his new posting, although with only one game played of the Martinez era is it too early to assess any formations or particular ideas the new man is attempting to impart. Time will tell how Martinez sees Everton lining up but for the moment the focus is on fitness, which is just as well since Everton lost 2-1 to Austria Vienna.

Everton’s goal was netted by one of the younger players in the squad Moyes bequeathed to Martinez, Apostolos Vellios, the Greek striker who at one point threatened to become a regular part of the matchday squad if not the starting XI, but who faded into obscurity for much of last season. He, along with the likes of Bryan Oviedo, Ross Barkley, Magaye Gueye and Shane Duffy will be hopeful of a run in the first team they were largely denied under Moyes, but all bar Barkley have seen new players arrive in their natural positions.

Part of the reason that Everton used the fewest players of any Premier League club last season is that Moyes rarely turned to Oviedo, Vellios or their ilk. Martinez has beefed up what was a small squad but it was also a squad of untapped potential – the fringe players may not be of a good enough standard for regular Premier League action but they never received the opportunity to prove themselves one way or another. There may be one or two more arrivals before the end of August but if not, Martinez does have alternatives already to hand. The focus is likely to remain on potential departures a little longer.

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