Everton latest: Martinez set to lose out to Arsenal for loan star?

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Everton fans are still buoyant after a superb season which saw the Toffees finish in fifth place in the Premier League, clinching a Europa League spot in the process. A large part of that was down to the influence of manager Roberto Martinez, who spoke today on his first season at the club after replacing David Moyes a year ago.

"It's been a remarkable period," he said, "I couldn't be more proud of the way we performed, the way we helped each other at the football club in every level and the manner in which myself and the new staff were welcomed to the extent where it feels like we have been here for many years. I must thank the fans and everyone connected to the Club for making that a reality."

"The past 11 months brought everything - a real focus on the way of playing, a very successful season and very encouraging signs for the future with the young players coming through and showing real talent. And then we had incredible performances from the senior players which allows you to build really good projects going forward," added the Spaniard.

Whilst Martinez can start to plan for next season, many of the Everton squad are preparing for the World Cup in Brazil this summer. Toffees captain Phil Jagielka was out of action for a long time through injury but is set to be part of England's squad - and the 31-year-old has vowed that he will be fit to face Italy.

"Last week was important for me to get a few more sessions under my belt," Jagielka said, "We had a really good session today and it is about getting myself ready.

"I do not need to be 100 per cent fit this week, it is more about building up and getting match practice before we go out to Miami. Hopefully I will time it perfectly for the opening group game," he added.

Martinez's plans may have already taken a hit though, as former on-loan Manchester City midfielder Gareth Barry has now been targeted by Arsenal after a superb season on Merseyside. Barry is now a free agent after his City contract expired, but having starred for Everton he has now attracted interest from the Gunners - who believe a bumper deal will guarantee his signature.

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