What could Roberto Martinez do with £45m at Everton this summer?
There are increasingly authoritative reports that Everton, 9/1 with Coral for a top six finish this season, are willing to listen to offers for star player Ross Barkley to fund a spending spree for Roberto Martinez to add strength to his Toffees squad.
Barkley has long been linked with both Manchester clubs and Chelsea, though it appears that Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City are the most serious about signing the 21-year-old, who will be an ideal long term replacement for Yaya Toure.
Any fee is likely to be between £45m and £60m, though there are ongoing concerns over how much funds are available for the club to spend, following new Financial Fair Play regulations. These restrictions will prevent them from spending in January and there is likely to be a review in the summer, where any transfer budget should become more transparent. The size of this will be dependent on a number of variables, though mainly will be dictated by the club’s commercial performance throughout the season, and projected forecasts for the next couple of years.
It was reported in December that City were confident of meeting FFP rules after reporting record revenues of £346.5m. This included their losses halved to £23m, of which £16m was a UEFA fine, an increase in their revenue by 28 per cent after winning the Premier League, and by no longer having the biggest wage bill in the league. The Premier League title win, plus FFP fines last year prompted renegotiated TV deals, as well as diversification of global revenue streams via a network of partners and affiliates.
If it does materialise that they can spend a considerable amount, and there appears to be a growing confidence that they can, then expect them to make Eveton’s Barkley their number one target, which means the Merseyside club will be in line for a considerable windfall. Here at Coral, we suggest a number of ways Martinez can spend at least £45m to reinvigorate his squad.
Upgrade of striking options
Everton do have record signing Romelu Lukaku and the reliable Steven Naismith, though in reserve they must rely on the ageing Samuel Eto’o and Arouna Kone who are useful to have around, though must know their time is numbered.
Burnley’s Danny Ings, who is sought after by a number of Premier League clubs, including Newcastle, is a viable option and is likely to cost anywhere between £7m and £10m. The 22-year-old clearly has talent, and he may see Eveton plus the influence of Martinez as the ideal platform to breaking into the England senior squad.
Should Martinez want to return to his native Spain for a bargain, he could be tempted by Atletico Madrid’s 22-year-old Brazilian striker Leo Baptistao, who has scored seven in 14 appearances while on loan at Rayo Vallecano this season. If Diego Simeone doesn’t have plans for him, Everton could land him for around the £7m mark.
Line up replacements at full back
If prolific full backs Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman end up being tempted by moves away (the latter has been linked to Manchester United), Everton will need strong replacements. Andrew Robertson has shown plenty of potential at Hull City and could be worth looking at, while on the other side, 23-year-old Ajax prodigy Ricardo van Rhijn has plenty of potential, and is a threat from set pieces.
Add central defensive depth
Everton have struggled here this season when injuries have occurred, however, Phil Jagielka isn’t getting any younger and 37-year-old Sylvain Distin is likely to call it a day at the end of the season. John Stones is a top talent, though he needs a partner he can build a long term relationship with.
Aston Villa’s Jores Okore has an abundance of potential and if Martinez can land him, he could be the long term replacement for Jagielka in the heart of defence, though adding a more experienced defender in the shape of Jonny Evans could be very wise. Louis van Gaal may consent to let him go, if he lands his top centre back targets.
Replace Barkley himself
How they would do this, is something Martinez would have to think about. Does he look for someone of a similar age, or pursue someone more established? The Spaniard likes players who have flair, creativity and superb technical ability, so he could have a look in La Liga for someone who fits the bill.
Real Sociedad, managed by ex-Everton boss David Moyes have a number of players who Martinez may like, and the Spanish club need the cash. Their 22-year-old midfielder, Ruben Pardo is blessed with talent and could be available for around £10m, though a move for Villarreal’s 23-year-old Manu Trigueros could also be an option and at just £5m, could turn out to be a bargain.