“We are looking to play very good football, very beautiful football. When we are playing good football, then we will win.” Ferran Soriano had that to say when he was asked about whether Manchester City’s lust for attractive football can be matched by an equivalent trophy haul. He might as well have been talking about Everton even though the Merseysiders’ brush with trophies have been as frequent as an asteroid traversing our atmosphere.
Marouane Fellaini’s long protracted move to Manchester United allowed Everton to make an unusual splash in the transfer market on Deadline Day. The arrivals of James McCarthy, Romelu Lukaku, Gareth Barry look to have significantly changed the nature of the window Everton have had. Although the uncertainty over the futures of Fellaini and Baines seems to have affected their start to the season, Roberto Martinez can have no excuses about the quality of squad he has inherited.
While the Moyes reign at Goodison park has been marked by stability in terms of league positions and frugality in terms of spending money on players, one can make a case for a lack of ambition in either. The traditional British manager is often characterized by an acuity in man management and a deficiency in tactical understanding, and the Glaswegian’s time at Everton was no different . David Moyes’ stint as Toffees boss was also conspicuous by an inability to beat teams expected to finish above them in the table. Roberto Martinez’s experiences in the lower leagues with Swansea and in perennial relegation strugglers Wigan should serve him well against bigger teams and also place an emphasis on tactically outwitting managers with greater resources.
On Martinez’s unveiling, much was made of Bill Kenwright’s revelation about the Spaniard’s promise of Champions League football during preliminary talks before his appointment. To be fair, as a manager of a team worth around £20 million to have conquered one worth £200 million, he is entitled to an outrageous claim or two. Whether Everton make a concerted challenge within the next two years or more remains to be seen, but success should definitely not be to plateau around 5th or 6th.
Another area which Martinez could be an upgrade on Moyes is the type of footballer signing for Everton. Even though the Scot was lauded for his ability to find bargains, the subtle sophisticated footballer like Deulofeu must be the template for the scouting department.
With the strength and quality of Premier League teams in contention for a Champions League place, the only way Everton can compete is to discover technically gifted footballers, impart a tactical understanding within the squad’s younger players and develop a coherent system akin to some of the successful clubs in the lesser leagues across the continent. A step back for a few steps forward can be acceptable for Everton considering the lack of considerable incentives for being in the Europa League and finishing midtable.
Given Martinez’s penchant for youth, innovative coaching methods and a track record of winning the FA cup, time and backing are essential to the direction he takes the club. Despite the apprehension of many a journalist in Britain, Martinez’s reign should positively reaffirm the club’s commitment towards trophies but with attractive football.