A Window of Hope

So we are just over two weeks into the summer transfer window and last week it was confirmed that Everton had made their first signing as Gareth Barry joined the Blues on a three year deal.

 

A Window of hope at Goodison Park
Image by @vinrc

A Window of Hope – By @LowerGwladysLad

Although we are only in the early stages of this latest transfer window, some Evertonians were beginning to get a bit worried about the lack of transfer activity at the Club and I think a lot of this stems from previous transfer window experience.

I don’t really blame those Blues for getting a bit impatient because in the past we have had to go through some torrid times in terms of transfer movements and usually a lot has been left to the last minute.

However since Martinez came to the Club our market dealings have been better, and we not only bolstered the squad last season with loans but we made some permanent signings too and throughout last season our squad contained a vibrant blend of players who showed some really positive signs during Roberto’s maiden year at Goodison Park.

Martinez moved quickly to bring in some of his former players last summer and the likes of Kone, Alcaraz and Robles came through the door at Finch Farm and Gerry Deulofeu also arrived from Barcelona in the July.

But it was during the closing stages of the summer transfer window that Martinez really shined and he managed to recruit James McCarthy, Gareth Barry and Romelu Lukaku in what turned out to be an excellent bit of business for the Toffees.

 

A window of hope: Everton manager Martinez will be aiming to build on an excellent first season
A window of hope: Everton manager Martinez will be aiming to build on an excellent first season

 

The players put in a fantastic effort last season and the transition from Moyes to Martinez went smoother than many expected; in fact it surprised some Evertonians and neutrals alike because it went so well.

We played an expressive, enthusiastic brand of football and as I said above, witnessed an excellent blend of players who gelled throughout the season and gave us real reason to be proud. A fifth-placed finish was the result and since then us Blues have been reflecting on the campaign that has brought European football back to Goodison and a manager who has put a smile on our faces and a spring in our step.

Now that the World Cup is over and pre-season has begun, the transfer rumours will continue to snowball and Evertonians will be waiting with baited breath to see if Kenwright has finally found that Arteta cash and fancies a spending spree.

Towards the end of last season I wrote about the importance of signing Gareth Barry and I was glad to see that confirmed last week, the former England man was a key asset at the Club last season and his experience is invaluable.

I, like many others, was surprised to see him do so well and he turned out to be one of the most outstanding performers in royal blue last term. To be honest I never had any doubts about him coming to the Club permanently and I have to say for once I feel quite relaxed about Everton’s transfer dealings – a sentence I don’t think I have ever said before.

I believe this summer is one of the most important in recent times and it is vital that Kenwright and the board back Martinez with adequate resources; it is evident that we need at least four new players if we are to kick on and build on what we did last season, but many will always have reservations when it comes to the finances at Goodison Park.

 

Gareth Barry and Roberto Martinez

I myself have been left angered, anxious and annoyed during previous transfer windows – but this time things feel different – I don’t feel worried, I don’t expect any of our players to depart.

I don’t believe that anything dramatic will happen that will leave us Blues tearing our hair out (saying that, most of the fellas in Goodison haven’t got any left), and overall I feel quite mellow and excited at the prospect of Martinez strengthening his squad and seeing the Toffees back in action in August – I believe Roberto will be given sufficient funds to add to his squad and continue to build the vision he has for the Club.

I think the area we most need to strengthen is up front but it appears we are also looking for midfield and defensive options too. Bosnian midfielder Muhamed Besic looks set to sign, and MK Dons defender Brendan Galloway is also close to a move – the Club should make announcements on both soon.

Meanwhile Carlos Sanchez and Jack Rodwell are also being mentioned – but it remains to be seen if there is concrete interest in those two. I expect Lacina Traore to re-join on a season’s loan after the Ivorian’s injury disappointment earlier this year and Martinez admitting he would like to bring him back from Monaco, but that could depend on other transfer decisions and he may only return to Merseyside if the Blues fail to sign other targets first.

The return of Arouna Kone from injury will boost the numbers up front and let’s not forget Darron Gibson and Bryan Oviedo too.

One player who looks set to be on the move is Romelu Lukaku and the Belgian recently admitted he has the chance to go back to Everton, but firstly he was returning home to rest and recover after the World Cup.

It appears Everton will be just one option for Lukaku as others like Wolfsburg, Spurs and our noisy neighbours are said to be sniffing around him too.

Opinion seems to be split amongst our fans as to how much Rom is actually worth and whether or not Everton can even afford him but when you look around the market and revert back to Lukaku’s age and goal record, can you honestly say there is cheaper alternatives that will get us the goals he did last term?

 

Roberto Martinez celebrates with Romelu Lukaku

 

He is still growing and learning the game – plus everyone at Everton saw what he is capable of last season – just as West Brom fans did the season previous – so maybe the Club will surprise us and pull out all the stops to sign him permanently this summer (as I write this, there is rumours all over Twitter that a deal could be in place to sign the striker).

Here’s hoping anyway, Lukaku certainly endeared himself to the Goodison faithful last term and although some of his game is still a bit rusty, there is no denying his qualities in front of goal and he added much-needed power to our attack last season, hopefully we will see him back there come August.

For the moment I suppose it is all ifs, buts and maybes, but unlike previous windows in which I have been quite pessimistic, worried and often left depressed and confused, this time I feel upbeat, positive and full of hope.

I can’t say I trust Kenwright and co and my views on the board remain; I will always have my doubts about them and for me there will always be question marks over certain issues, but I fully trust Roberto to spend what money he gets wisely and I am of the opinion that he will bring in at least five new players before the end of August.

One or two of those might be on loan (we are Everloan after all) but there is nothing wrong with that at all, just as long as we bring in a few permanent faces to add to what we already have.

The prospect of seeing new players being added to a squad full of hunger and desire has got me buzzing for the beginning of the new campaign and the thought of seeing what the likes of Stones, McCarthy and Barkley can go on to achieve is mouth-watering.

The players are hungry, the fans are in high spirits and we head into the new campaign hoping to continue our good work from last season and I am confident that it will be with a few new recruits within our ranks too.

 

Up the Toffees!

 

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Mark Finnegan

Proud Dad, Evertonian and owner of @EFCFeelinBlue http://efcfeelinblue.com

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