Under David Moyes Everton always had a strong team, giving the big teams a bloody nose on many occasions. His side personified his qualities, these being fighting spirit, hard work and team unity. So naturally when Roberto Martinez was appointed, many believed a big transition period would take place.
Although it is early in his first season, much of what Martinez is doing is very similar to what Wenger did in his early Arsenal career. He has recognised that to be a success at Goodison Park he needs to work with the players who were successful under Moyes.
Sudden change to the experienced players could have turned the fans and players against him. He has retained the majority of the team that his predecessor used. All that Martinez has done is to make all the players comfortable on the ball, Jagielka saying in an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live last week that for the first time all training is now done with a ball at their feet.
The team that Martinez inherited had solid Premier League players, he then gave these players a license to express themselves. He added other quality premiership players in Barry and McCarthy and gave Ross Barkley a sustained chance in the first team. All this gave him the best team that he had ever had, but this team did not have the great striker that Moyes had always craved.
Going into the last day of the transfer window Everton fans must have been worried, with Jelavic, Kone and Deulofeu the main strikers. If Martinez did not pull out the big signing then Everton would probably have had face a season of mid-table mediocrity. Nothing happened on the striker front until around half past eight when a Sky Sports reporter declared that Lukaku could be heading out on loan.
As the saying states all good things come to those who wait. This saying is befitting of Roberto Martinez, a man who seems to have all the patience in the world. He waited till the dying embers of the transfer window to do his main business and what business that was. It seemed that the Belgium striker preferred a move to West Brom a club he had so much success with last season, so the signing for Everton was a real coup.
Lukaku could however be disappointed to have left Chelsea, he obviously wanted game time that Mourinho surprisingly didn’t want to give him. In hindsight Jose may feel this was a mistake. Having publicly stated that Eto'o may have been affected by his stint in Russia, Torres with a long ban and Ba nowhere to be seen it defiantly seems like this. The big Belgium could have easily pushed his way past Ba and Eto'o into the starting eleven. Instead he arrives with a point to prove.
The Everton squad now has Lukaku, Coleman, McCarthy and Barkley as exciting youngsters, Barry, Howard, Distan and Jagielka as experienced players. Baines and Mirallas add a touch of class into the side. This balanced side must excite most Everton fans.
Chelsea will get back a better player next season but their loss for this season is definitely Everton’s gain. What Everton have now is a very balanced side with experience, youth and stars.
How far can Everton go this year?
image: © Erik Daniel Drost