Everton Transfer Focus – Martinez lands first new face as Kone signs in

Roberto Martinez completed the first signing of his Everton tenure on Monday, securing the transfer of Arouna Kone from former club Wigan Athletic.

The purchase of Kone doesn’t quite fit with the last few transfers of Martinez’s predecessor David Moyes. Moyes signed the likes of Kevin Mirallas and Bryan Oviedo in his final dealings, players in their mid-20s with room to develop further, and also players that could offer versatility to his threadbare squad.

But not only is Kone nearing 30, he is an out-and-out striker. The fee for Kone has been tagged by the BBC as £6m, the fee stipulated as a release clause in Kone’s Wigan contract, putting him on par with Mirallas, who joined from Olympiakos for a similar amount last summer. Eyebrows were raised in some quarters at the size of the price for a player Kone’s age, but it should be remembered that his tally of 13 goals for Wigan last season would have been enough to also make him Everton’s top scorer.

Everton tactics blog Executioner’s Bong analysed the Kone signing in great detail, putting forth arguments in favour of the transfer from both a tactical and logical point of view. The site wrote: “…Given the lack of time and the pressing need for striking reinforcements, Martinez has gone with someone he and his chief scout Kevin Reeves have already done their due diligence on and can theoretically hit the ground running,” while examining how Kone plays and considering how he would integrate at Goodison Park.

But with regards to the transfer fee, and the initial reaction – referenced by Executioner’s Bong – it is worth pointing out that Kone is only two years older than Nikica Jelavic, who was signed for very slightly less from Rangers in January 2012, and there was no question over the fee in that instance. Is an extra two years really enough to warrant consternation?

The question of re-sale value has been raised and used as an argument for why Everton have overpaid for Kone – those bastions of reasoned debate and thoughtful discussion, internet messageboards, have seen that point raised many times. Yet it’s not a stretch to suggest that if Kone was five years younger, a 24-year-old striker signed for £6m, and sold on for twice that amount in two years, those complaining now would be the same people complaining then despite the hypothetical Kone’s tremendous re-sale value.

Not every player can be an early-to-mid 20s prospect, signed at a bargain price and at Everton to realise his potential. Moyes moved for Louis Saha in 2008 for the same reasons Martinez has nabbed Kone – a reliable goal scorer who can come straight into the team and contribute. Everton were the lowest scorers in the league’s top seven last season – Liverpool, a place and two points below, scored 16 more goals, and Tottenham, a place nine points ahead, scored 11. If Kone’s goals close the gap there’ll be no doubt about his value for money.

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