All the latest news, views and transfer rumours from Goodison Park...
Late last night, Everton finally wrapped up the signing of loan star Gareth Barry, who was a free agent after leaving Manchester City. The 33-year-old enjoyed a renaissance season at Goodison Park under Roberto Martinez, and whilst the Toffees always wanted to keep him on Merseyside, it took a lot longer than expected - but Martinez was delighted nonetheless.
"We all know the type of footballer that he is and the type of person that he is. He will fit perfectly well into what we are at Everton. It is a great way to start pre-season," said Martinez.
"Gareth is a model professional. He sets high standards in everything he does and that is the perfect model you want for your young players. And add to that his experience on the football pitch and knowing how to win big games. He has that winning mentality and it is something I am delighted to bring into the side on a permanent basis."
Barry has signed a three-year deal to stay with Everton, which could take him to his retirement, and it's the perfect tonic for the team, who return to pre-season training on Thursday. Barry, who formed an excellent partnership with James McCarthy in the Everton midfield, says he's glad that he's now staying with Everton for good.
"I was really keen to get this sorted before the lads come back to training on Thursday. I’m delighted now that everything is signed and that I’m going to be spending the next few years at Everton," Barry said. "When you are on loan, it is never the same as being a signed player. I was really settled last year – but now I am an official Everton player and it feels really good. From the moment I signed last year I settled in straight away. There is a fantastic history here and it was brilliant working with the manager."
Meanwhile, Martinez must look to keep strengthening his squad, and that will no doubt include developing young players after the success of John Stones and Ross Barkley last season. The latest name to be strongly linked with the club is MK Dons' 18-year-old Brendan Galloway, who has represented England at Under 17, 18 and 19 levels. Galloway, who can play in defence or midfield, is now tipped to sign for the Toffees in the coming days.