While Roberto Martinez’ first three signings at Everton were all smart additions to the squad, with the Spaniard bringing three former Wigan charges to Goodison Park, none have created as much excitement as the capture of Barcelona youngster Gerard Deulofeu on loan for a season.
Clearly fans have the inclination to get overexcited about any transfer their team makes, and when the move involves a highly-rated Barcelona youngster there is all the more reason to get carried away, but it is worth remembering that Deulofeu is only 19, and could take some time to settle in England.
Everton look a smart choice for Deulofeu, with Martinez at the helm and a talented team capable of giving him the freedom to attack the opposition. Last season he scored 18 times for Barcelona B in the Spanish second division, and although he is very unlikely to replicate that prolifiacy in the Premier League, Deulofeu should be able to chip in with goals next year.
The teenager can play on either flank of the attack, and his dribbling ability is already rightly renowned. Along with his rapid pace he is a very dangerous player indeed. With Kevin Mirallas on one side, Deulofeu on the other and Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman roving forward from defence, Everton would have an outrageous amount of quality on the ball on their flanks.
At 19 and in a new division, if would be unexpected if Deulofeu did not take time to settle and have dips in form throughout the year. However Martinez has worked wonders with young players in the past at Wigan and Swansea, and this is no doubt something Barcelona recognised when deciding to send Deulofeu on loan to Everton.
If Martinez can instill enough confidence in Deulofeu over the summer, the 19-year-old’s talent should be enough to ensure he is a star at Goodison Park next season. He might not be a consistent performer throughout the year, but Everton fans have no reason to dampen their expectations just yet.
image: © zachleat