A Short Term Fix for a Long Term Vision

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It looks apparent that Everton are set to sign another player on loan, and this time he comes in the form of giant Ivorian striker Lacina Traore. Roberto Martinez appears likely to secure his second new player of the January transfer window and once completed, the Spaniard will then have four loanees within his ranks at Goodison Park.

Much has been made about us borrowing players, and criticisms of how we’d cope without such talents in our squad have been talked about amongst fans of other football clubs, journo’s and pundits alike. This has resulted in us Evertonians taking a tongue-in-cheek approach to it all and some have even been calling us ‘Everloan’, mocking what others have said about us this season.

Would these other fans and so-called pundits be saying anything if Everton were not doing so well in the Premier League? I doubt it very much.

As we know, the finances at Everton FC aren’t great, and although we have recouped large sums for some of our outgoing players in recent times, there is still on ongoing debt problem and distinct lack of spending power at Goodison Park. Financially we cannot compete with the likes of Chelsea, Man City, not to mention Spurs, Arsenal, United, and those muppets from across the Park too. This isn’t anything new to us, we are all aware of that fact, and as a Club we have just got by on limited resources over the years. Whilst I don’t agree with just ‘having to make do’ – it is a harsh reality and until changes are made at Everton then this will continue. I don’t want to see my Club settle for second best both on the pitch and off it, and questions still need to be asked of our board as to why we things don’t seem to change, because if matters on the pitch took a turn for the worst, everyone would be banging on about it. I think our Chairman has been great at judging our recent managerial appointments and it all isn’t doom and gloom when it comes to Bill Kenwright, but maybe he is lucky that both Moyes and Martinez have been very understanding of our financial restraints and the fact that they have both too been bright in the transfer market, showing real ability to be shrewd and work within a limited budget. I’d love to hear your views on this piece Blues and the off-field matters mentioned above in particular, what stance do you take on Everton’s finances?

Because of our financial position David Moyes had to chop and change, he had to wheel and deal, and if it wasn’t for some shrewd business by him during his tenure then things could have been very different on the pitch at Everton. As it was, Moyes bettered the Everton of before and did take us to the top four, he brought in players from the lower leagues and made them into internationals, and also had an eye for a smart loan deal – Pienaar and Arteta are two that stand out, what about the likes of Tim Howard too.

Speaking of loans and incoming players, our new manager Roberto Martinez has already proved during his short time at the Club that he can too be smart in the market. The difference with Martinez though is that his additions can take us further than Moyes ever did. He has already shown how to utilise the transfer market in one window to our benefit and I have every faith he will do it again this month. So that’s why when people talk about Everton loaning ‘too many’ players this season, you can’t help but laugh because as Evertonians, as long as those players improve our Football Club, and have a positive effect on those players around them, then who actually cares?

Look at the heart of our squad and some of our most stand-out players this season are ‘real’ Everton players. Coleman, Barkley and McCarthy to name but three. Look at the captain, Phil Jagielka – a brilliant leader, Distin, Baines, Pienaar, the list goes on. Tim Howard in goal, Naismith, McGeady, Mirallas, Osman, Stones, Oviedo, Gibson, Kone, all of the young lads that are out on loan – all permanent Everton players. They are not on loan are they? But even if they was, as long as they give their all for this Club and benefit Everton FC then it won’t give me any sleepless nights.

Earlier in the season I spoke about the blend we have within our squad, and Martinez’ signings have all been very clever in my opinion. We’ve got experienced internationals, seasoned regulars, some ageing players who are still performing at the top-level. We’ve got some young lads breaking through, some who look set to be real talents in the future and players being added to the squad who are all vying for a place in Martinez’ team. Our loan signings include an exciting winger from Barca, a powerful striker from Chelsea who is going to go on to great things, and a title-winning midfielder who has been absolute quality since arriving, and who also speaks openly about hoping to sign for us permanently too. Although some of these players will only be with us on a temporary basis, they are currently part of the new vision for Everton and part of the Martinez Mantra that has engulfed this Club. It doesn’t look like any of them have come here just to chill out in a hotel for a season and play the odd game now and then does it? No, they are all desperate to play and impress and OK they might not be part of our long-term plans, they are here now and very much a part of what we are trying to achieve under our new, Brown-Brogued manager.

Martinez is trying to build, it’s still a transitional period don’t forget, and having such a mixture of talent and options at his disposal is allowing him to assess what and where he needs to improve at this Football Club. His ideology is a positive one and since taking over it has been clearly evident both on the pitch and off it. Further additions are likely to follow as we continue to better ourselves and strive to finish amongst the Premier League’s elite, and the latest news about Traore’s potential addition is more than welcome in my opinion. The McGeady deal was also a smart move too; he’s a player obviously hoping to impress a manager who has long admired him and a player who is hoping to finally make his name in English football. He still has age on his age, he’s experienced and he can only add to what creativity we already have. Again, McGeady and Traore will both bring different things and Martinez would not sign them if they were not going to add something to this Everton side, regardless if they are here to stay permanently or not.

Once the Traore deal goes through, I fully expect Roberto to bring in another two players before the end of the window and the only other outgoing name I’s expect will probably be Heitinga. Obviously there is still ten days to go to sign players and a lot can happen, but I completely trust Martinez to stick to his word that we, as a Club, will finish the transfer window stronger than when we started it. The sales of Jelavic and Heitinga are right for them as individuals and right for us too, and the players our manager is bringing in are only bolstering the quality we already have within our squad. Loaning players might not be ideal in some people’s opinions, but as we’ve shown this season and in the past under Moyes, they can be a huge benefit to have, not only on the pitch but off it as well. Youth and experience, character and creativity, points to prove and impressions to make, this squad might not all officially belong to our Club, but at the moment with Martinez overseeing their mixture of talents and personalities, collectively they are all striving to make us an even bigger, better Everton, and I for one have no problem with that at all.

I’ll finish by including the recent remarks from Roberto Martinez regarding loan signings at Everton. A man who knows what he is doing? I think so…

“Remember that the loan market will always be important for us. Having three or four players on loan gives you something fresh. They have a point to prove and they give you a real sharpness on what we have in the squad.

“We already have a stability with the core of the squad – and remember that we have long-term injuries in the likes of Darron Gibson and Arouna Kone and they need replacing in the short-term. Those two players were going to be important this season and they’re going to be important in the long run.

“But I think the loan market is very very important if you use it correctly and you use the right characters, and clearly we have that. If you have a very long-term loan, let’s say two years or three years, players may respond differently because they will always have that safety net of the parent club.

“But short-term – for example a season – a loan player has no margin for error. He has to impress people, he has to perform well and the reality is that in that season your future could change drastically – so it’s a great situation to be in.

“If you get the right characters, the right talent, it’s a win-win situation for everyone. But the loan system only works if you have a strong and successful core and that’s what we’ve got at Everton.

“They give players direction and make it very easy for a loan player to come in and understand the standards and what’s needed and then take that direction into helping the team.

“When you haven’t got that strong core of senior players who set standards, then the loan players can find it difficult and can react to adversity in a negative way, as I mentioned earlier, always looking back to the parent club.

“But that’s not the case with us. We are very committed, we are very much a group and we aspire to achieve something this season.

“Everyone is vitally important here until the end of the campaign, whether they are in a three-year contract, in a six-year contract or on a loan.”

And on that final paragraph I rest my case..

Up the Toffees

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