Everton latest: £20m Baines and Martinez says derby is 'as big as it gets'

Roberto Martinez

All the latest news and gossip from Goodison Park ahead of the Merseyside Derby this weekend.

Everton take on Liverpool this weekend in the Merseyside Derby … and Roberto Martinez is thoroughly excited about the fixture.

It is his first such tie, and an interesting one considering he almost became the Liverpool boss last year.

“It is a massive game. First and foremost, it’s a glamorous fixture. It’s one of those games that is followed worldwide and the significance, the passion and the history is reflected in the game. This one is more important because both teams are in the top six and both have had strong starts to the season.”

“The points in the derby will be important in themselves. All in all, it’s as big a game in football you can get.”

Gerard Deulofeu is being tipped to feature in the game - potentially from the start.

The Spaniard has had a great time this week on international duty with the Spanish under-21’s and is hoping to start replicating that form with Everton from this weekend.

It comes after it emerged Everton must pay Barcelona more money to keep the temporary player every time he doesn’t play for The Toffees - as to ensure he gets the playing time Barca wanted.

Everton left-back Leighton Baines, who is by now a well-known target for Manchester United has had a £20 million price-tag slapped on his head.

The England international, who was the subject of numerous bids this summer from Old Trafford, is not considered for sale at Goodison Park - but should the right fee come in for him they would be happy to let him go.

Everton were reportedly interested in Lazio midfielder Ogenyi Onazi - but the Nigerian international has now made it clear he wants to play for Liverpool.

The combative midfielder stated:

"I would jump at the chance to play in the Premier League. Liverpool? They are a huge team and are attractive to any footballer. I could see myself playing for them."

Antolin Alcaraz is back up to full fitness. The Paraguayan had a hernia operation shortly after signing for The Toffees from Wigan Athletic this summer on a free transfer.

However he has given Roberto Martinez a boost by returning to full training:

"Antolin is fully fit now and has been working well in the last week, so he is one week ahead of what I expected.”

He is not however going to be used in the Merseyside derby this weekend.

image: © illarterate

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