Sunday’s Football Focus
Everybody is assuming that Roberto Martinez will now be preoccupied with digging trenches at Goodison as he fights to repel the big clubs looking to raid his top players, like Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines.
But according to new Everton manager, it’s not really like that and insists that the attention specifically surrounding Fellaini – sought, we hear, by Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea – is not really an issue. Really? The market tells a different story with the 25-year-old Belgian midfielder maybe more likely to join Arsenal than his old boss David Moyes at United, though there does seem to be a growing possibility that both he and Baines will stay at Everton.
Martinez, however, will have targets of his own and apparently one player near the top of his wish list is Victor Moses, one of his former stars at Wigan. Moses figured prominently for Chelsea under Rafa Benitez last season, but might not be such a regular under Jose Mourinho after the returning Stamford Bridge boss has done his work in the transfer market and this could be a good time to move in for him.
It still seems to be touch and go whether Wayne Rooney will leave Man United this summer – with no more big hints either way emanating from Old Trafford in recent days, Coral go 8/11 that he stays and evens that he goes. The market suggests that old boy Cristiano Ronaldo is more likely to return to United (6/5) than go to Chelsea (9/4) if he does come back to England, but the most likely scenario is that he will stay at Real Madrid for at least another season.
Meanwhile, pretty much under the radar, United signed Uruguayan 20-year-old right-back Guillermo Verala earlier this week for a reported £1 million.
Wigan chairman Dave Whelan says he has been deeply impressed with the standard of applicant for the vacant managerial post and that a final decision as to who takes over from Martinez should be made this week.
Owen Coyle remains Coral’s 9/4 favourite, but Mike Phelan (11/4), Rene Muelensteen (3/1), former England boss Steve McClaren (9/2) and Gus Poyet (5/1) remain in the frame.
And another name, less well known to the wider public, can be added to that shortlist – MK Dons boss Karl Robinson, another 5/1 shot.
Liverpool-born Robinson was a striker for several clubs on the northern non-league circuit before going into management, where he quickly impressed by taking the Dons to the Division One play-offs in 2011 and 2012 and then to the fifth round of the FA Cup this year.
Still only 32, Robinson is attracting admiring glances from several clubs and though he has spoken in the past of his determination to see through the job of getting MK Dons promoted to the Championship, the opportunity of a return to his native north west for a club like Wigan might prove difficult to resist.
Written by Jon Freeman