I’ll admit to having reservations about Roberto Martinez. I felt he was a good manager and winning the FA Cup was a terrific feather in his cap but it worried me that we were appointing a relegated manager.

That being said, most of my worries disappeared with that first transfer window under Roberto. To my pleasant surprise, Roberto moved confidently in the transfer window, selling deadwood like Anichebe and getting a good price for Marouane Fellaini. Roberto also acted quickly in bringing in some exciting players who I was sure would improve Everton.

At least I thought they would improve Everton. But, 6 months later, I’m beginning to wonder if they actually have improved the squad left behind.... Let’s take a closer look.

Arouna Kon

Roberto’s first transfer was bringing in his Wigan striker Arouna Kone. I think Roberto quickly realised that Everton lacked a striker of quality and happily paid around 5 million for the striker who scored 13 goals for Wigan the season before. It sounded like a good transfer because if he could hit 13 goals for a relegated side like Wigan then surely he could hit more for a Top 6 side like Everton, right? Well we won’t find out this season because, after 5 substitute appearances (and 1 start in the League Cup), Arouna Kone’s season ended in mid-October.

Now of course we can’t blame Roberto for the injury. It’s just bad luck that Kone’s season was ended so prematurely. But there’s also a part of me that is annoyed we signed a striker for 5 million and 6 months later he still hasn’t scored a debut goal for Everton!! Kone will have to start his Everton career next season but he’ll be 31 years old. In all honestly, it’s not going to be easy for 31-year-old Kone to restart his career and make an impact at his new club after a year on the sidelines.

I keep telling myself it’s not Roberto’s fault; it’s just bad luck... but I’m sorry, I don’t think Arouna Kone has improved the squad. I’d rather we kept Victor Anichebe who was always good for a handful of goals. The Arouna Kone transfer has not reaped any rewards so far and must be considered a flop.

Antolin Alcaraz

Roberto’s second signing for Everton was another Wigan player, Antolin Alcaraz. We were told Alcaraz was an experienced centre back who knew how to play the Roberto Martinez way. Again, though I had reservations about Alcaraz, he was in his 30s when he signed for Everton but he was a free transfer, so what did we have to lose?

Well, we had to wait 5 months before we even saw Alcaraz play for Everton. He signed in July but didnt make his debut until 29 December. Once again, we cant blame Roberto for the injuries, its just bad luck right? But then when he did play he looked okay for a couple of games and then got absolutely slaughtered in the derby game against Liverpool.

I know all the players were awful against Liverpool but Alcaraz was the worst of a bad bunch. And then, to add insult to injury, Alcaraz goes and gets injured again. But hes a free transfer, right... so we havent lost anything, right? Except thats not true. Alcaraz has been at Everton for 6 months now. Thats 24 weeks we have been paying him what 10,000 a week? 20,000 a week? Surely not 30,000 a week? Let’s be conservative and assume Alcaraz is on 15,000 a week, so thats 15,000 times 24 weeks? Meaning we have probably paid Antolin Acaraz 360,000. And thats not including signing-on bonuses.

And what have we gotten for our 360,000 so far? Just four appearances! He looked okay against Southampton, Stoke and QPR and then got bloody mullered by Liverpool. And now hes injured again. And this guy has a five-year contract? Im sorry but once again, I have to say that Antolin Alcaraz has not been a good transfer.

You can blame bad luck for the injuries but Antolin Alcaraz has not improved Everton and with age quickly catching up on him you have to wonder if he ever will. Personally Id have given Alcarazs place in the squad to Duffy and his game time to Stones.

Joel Robles

For his third transfer, Roberto again went back to Wigan and brought in Joel Robles (although officially Robles signed from Atletico Madrid). I think many of us had questioned the ability of Tim Howard in the past. I myself have always regarded Tim Howard as a solid, if unspectacular, goalkeeper. David Moyes’s loyalty to Tim Howard has always been a subject of conjuncture amongst Everton fans with many believing that Moyes was too loyal to a goalkeeper who at times could look very average.

Joel Robles looked a great purchase by Roberto. Robles was young (just 23) and seemed destined to be the long term replacement for Tim Howard. In fact, many fans (myself included) expected Robles to take over from Howard this season. Many fans felt Howards days were numbered with the arrival of Robles. Except it hasnt worked out that way. Roberto has shown Moyes-type loyalty to Tim Howard and Robles has been limited to just five appearances in the cups and only two in the Premier League.

Has Robles improved Everton? Well, hes certainly made me appreciate Tim Howard more than I did. Robles has looked nervous and shaky in every game hes played for Everton. I assumed there would be a campaign by fans to get Robles to take over from Howard but in all honesty thats not happened because none of the fans believe Robles is good enough. I bet last season that fans were 50/50 on Tim Howard and I bet now nearly all of them are backing Tim Howard because they have doubts about Joel Robles. You can argue Joel Robles has time and he may yet prove an astute transfer but, at this moment in time, Im not sure Joel Robles has been a good transfer.

Gerard Deulofeu

In a weird way, Kone, Alcaraz & Robles are the sort of signings David Moyes would have made. I could easily have seen Moyes signing Kone for his Wigan goals, Alcaraz because he was free and Robles for his potential. Gerard Deulofeu was the first signing I felt David Moyes would not have made. Gerard Deulofeu is not a Moyes player. A Barcelona wonderkid. A precocious talent with quick feet and blistering pace. Gerard Deulofeu was the most exciting signing Everton made in the summer and he felt like a Roberto Martinez signing.

Moyes would never have trusted a player like Gerard Deulofeu in the Premier League... but surprisingly neither has Roberto Martinez. Thats the frustrating thing about Gerard Deulofeu, Roberto Martinez clearly has no faith in him. Roberto uses Gerard Deulofeu as a cameo impact player. The fans have seen glimpses of Deulofeus talent but, with only two Premier League starts to his name, it’s clear Roberto feels hes not good enough for 90 minutes. It would be fine if Deulofeu was a permanent Everton player because hes 19 and we would all agree Roberto was doing the right thing easing him into life at the top level of English football. Moyes was doing the same thing with Barkley last year.

But Deulofeu is not a permanent Everton player. Deulofeu is actually at Everton for just 12 more games then, by all accounts, hes going back to Barcelona, or possibly to another club for a loan. Taking your time and slowly developing a young player is the right thing to do but Deulofeu is not Evertons player.

Whats the point of bringing in a player on loan and then keeping him on the sidelines for most of that loan? Surely you should only loan players who are going to make a major impact on the season? Giving Deulofeu a cameo role seems like a wasted opportunity. Roberto might as well have given that limited playing time to an Everton youngster like Kennedy or Green. Once again, Roberto seems all too Moyes-like in his loyalty to players like Osman and Pienaar. Everton are crying out for goals but Roberto keeps picking Pienaar, who rarely finds the net even when hes in form. While Deulofeu remains in the cameo role.

I think Deulofeu is a potentially terrific player who Im sure would entertain the fans and create / score goals but well never see that. With two starts in the Premier League and only three Everton goals to his name, you have to argue that Deulofeus transfer has been disappointing. I really hope Roberto can get a second season loan sorted for Deulofeu because I feel hes capable of much more.

Romelu Lukaku

When the Belgium signed I think we all agreed Roberto Martinez had solved Evertons striker problems. Throughout his 11-year reign as Everton manager one thing had remained constant for David Moyes, he never found a striker capable of delivering regular goals. Many had been tried (Beattie, Johnson. Jelavic), Yakubu even scored 20 goals in a single season before becoming injured and never looking the same player.

Moyes never solved the Everton striker problem but, in one fell swoop Roberto had signed a player who would surely change all that. After all, Lukaku scored 17 goals for West Brom last season. Surely he would easily get over 20 for Everton?

Lukaku started his Everton career every bit the player we expected. 10 goals (including 2 against Liverpool) in his first 15 games had Everton flying. Many people were calling Mourinho crazy for letting Lukaku leave. But then for some reason Lukaku seemed to lose focus. In his last 10 games for Everton, Lukaku has scored just 1 goal.

And perhaps more worryingly, as the goals dried up, Lukaku began to look more uninterested and almost lazy looking. The big powerful forward who could terrorise defences and bag goals for fun started to look lumbering and frustrated. His goals dried up Jelavic-style and so far he has just 11 goals for Everton.

His injury came at a good time because I think some Everton fans were getting annoyed with Lukaku and maybe the rest will do him good. With just 12 games remaining on his loan with Everton, you have to wonder; will he hit 20 goals this season? Will he beat his total of 17 with West Brom? Both seem unlikely now.

There are also rumblings that Lukaku is unhappy at Everton.... that Everton dont play football to Lukakus strengths. The player himself has said many times he wants Champions League football next season and it’s looking unlikely that will be something Everton are able to offer him. I actually think the shine was worn off Lukaku. I think his reputation was higher at West Brom and actually hes not so highly regarded now. I really hope Lukaku returns soon and is the player we saw in the first 15 games. Hes got the potential to be great but I dont think well see that at Everton.

My guess is Lukaku will return and score a few more goals, probably get to around 15, and then return to Chelsea to sort out his future with Mourinho. I think Lukaku has been a good signing but he hasnt been as good as he was at West Brom and he certainly hasnt solved the long term striker problem at Everton.

Gareth Barry

Gareth Barry has been a great transfer by Roberto. I would even suggest he could be our player of the season. In many ways Barry is the type of player I could imagine David Moyes may have signed if hed stayed on at Everton. But I have to give all the credit to Roberto. Barry in many ways is the replacement for Phil Neville but hes a much better player.

My only problem with Gareth Barry is that we signed him 10 years too late. Gareth Barry is 33 years old and thats a real shame because I genuinely think he could have become an Everton legend with more time. I think Barry will sign permanently for Everton in the summer and I expect hell be a good player for a couple more seasons but sadly I have to regard Barry as a short-term solution by Roberto.

I think Barry is Robertos best signing (although who didnt know Barry was a good player?) but I cant help wishing he was a younger player. We were linked with Jack Rodwell in January and at 22 hes the sort of age Roberto should be looking at. If Rodwell could get over his injuries I think he might have the potential to be Barrys long term replacement. Ill take Barry for now but a part of me worries Roberto isnt looking at things here long term.

James McCarthy

James McCarthy arrived at Everton with a 13 million price tag around his neck. Hes the right age at 23 but has a lot to prove with such a big transfer. He started off great, looking the real deal in his early games. He was working well with Barry in the centre of Evertons midfield and I think the two of them were the reason Everton were doing so well early on. But McCarthys form seems to have fallen off in recent weeks.

He was very quiet in big games against Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea too. I think McCarthy will become a good player for Everton and he might just yet prove to be Robertos best signing for Everton so far. He just needs to be better against the bigger teams and it wouldnt hurt to find a goal every so often. Still, I would say McCarthy is good signing by Roberto.


I think Robertos transfers have been a mixed bag so far. Kone and Alcaraz have not worked out; Deulofeu and Robles have potential but we havent seen enough of them to judge; Lukaku started brightly but lost his way; and Barry looks the real deal but is too old.

And thats the problem in my view. Roberto needed to improve the squad David Moyes left him but Im not sure it’s improved, at least not long term.

Deulofeu and Lukaku have no long-term future at Everton, Barry, Kone & Alcaraz are short term solutions, Im not sure Robles has the quality required and only McCarthy ticks all the boxes: hes young, doing a good job and has a long-term future at Everton.

I really wish Roberto would give up his loan policy. Developing Barcelona and Chelsea players is not the way forward, Roberto. If you want to develop young players, then do it with Everton players like Kennedy and Green.

Signing players in their 30s is not the answer either. David Moyes was very good at finding players in their lower 20s who were playing at a lower level but had potential to step up. Tim Cahill, Mikel Arteta, Joleon Lescott, Steven Pienaar, Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines, Seamus Coleman. All of them were the sort of players Moyes excelled at finding and they are the type I wish Roberto would start searching for.

Things havent improved in January either. Im not sure on Aiden McGeady (although it’s early days) and Lacinda Traore is another loan who has just 12 games to make an impact. I just dont understand the point of bringing in Traore for such a short time? Why not just give Vellios, McAleny or even Hope a chance? Does Roberto have such little faith in the Everton youngsters?

After 26 games last season we had 42 point and this season we have 45 points. So actually Roberto is still three points ahead. If we look at it that way then you have to say things have improved. But Everton under Moyes always got better the second half of the season and Im not sure we will finish the season with 63 points or in 6th place.

We definitely wont be repeating the feat of finishing above Liverpool like we have the previous past two seasons. In fact its now debatable if we will finish above David Moyes and his Man Utd team.

But Im not suggesting we sack Roberto Martinez. I believe in giving him time. I think his transfer dealings so far have been a mixed bag but I have faith eventually he will find a way of improving Everton.

What worries me is that stalwarts like Jagielka, Pienaar, Distin, Osman and Howard are ageing and will need replacing soon. Even Baines is getting near 30. Will Roberto be able to find long-term replacements for these players? Or will he continue his policy of signing young loanees and 30-something players?

One thing is for sure he needs financial backing from the Board. This season is starting to turn a little bit sour but it’s early days on the Roberto Martinez reign. Let’s keep the faith.

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Reader Comments (33)

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Dave Hutchinson
3 Posted 25/02/2014 at 21:30:39
Dick, you write of the injury problems experienced by Kone and Alcaraz (rightly, although hardly Martinez's fault) and then suggest we should go for Rodwell?!
Robbie Muldoon
4 Posted 25/02/2014 at 21:55:03
This article is ridiculous, quite possibly the worst I have ever read on ToffeeWeb. The author is trying to undermine a manager in his first season by judging new signings after just over six months... not to mention two have hardly kicked a ball due to injury, another two have suffered with less serious injuries, and one is a back up goalkeeper!

The title should be... Roberto's Transfer Hard Luck.

David Flanagan
6 Posted 26/02/2014 at 05:31:48
Most of the article is correct as he's signed injured players who surprisingly get injured again. That's his fault; no-one else's. The main problem is most of the signings are short-term fixes to a long-term problem. We are going to need a lot of players in just to replace the loan deals before we try to add extra quality to the squad. With our board, that represents trouble and RM will need to work quickly
Matt Traynor
8 Posted 26/02/2014 at 07:10:58
What's RM's net transfer spend then?
I think therein lies part of the answer.
Ciaran Duff
9 Posted 26/02/2014 at 08:40:56
Give the guy a break Dick. We all knew that he needed time to settle in and this was going to be a "transition season". Actually, he has done much better than that in terms of results and performances. I'd say that he has done much better with his transfer policy than DM at Manure and he had more time to plan (as we now know) and more money to spend.
Yes RM may have brought some loanees in as a short term fix but maybe that is a good idea, so that he has time to look at longer term options in the summer. We have also been very unlucky with injuries.
Sam Hoare
10 Posted 26/02/2014 at 07:16:02
I think there are some fair points made here though the overall tone is perhaps unfairly sceptical.

What concerns me is that this summer we will have the smallest squad we have had in sometime when Barry, Lukaku, Deulofeu and Traore leave. Added to that we will have the likes of Pienaar, Howard, Distin and Osman a year older and the likes of Gibson, Kone and Oviedo returning from serious long term injury. With only one youngster Stones having been brought through this season that means a lot of first squad places with question marks over them. Hopefully Bobby and Bill have a solid plan for the Summer transfer wise.

Ian Hams
11 Posted 26/02/2014 at 09:27:21
Yings, someone call an ambulance I've just slit my wrists after reading that. There was me still feeling a little bit positive, I mean we haven't had a bad season.

Man for man the players in are at least the equall to what they have replaced center mid is defo stronger and we look better with the ball at our feet. That said we will still need to gradually replace the likes of Distin and Osman etc as time goes by but that will be a gradual thing the big problem is goals and if the talk from Goodison is to be believed then that is what Bobby has been saving his pocket money for.

Less than a season on lets try and be a bit patient and give the man a chance.

George McKane
12 Posted 26/02/2014 at 09:30:57
One true statement: Anichebe "a handfull of goals"... Yes, literally never more than 5. My goodness getting anything above about 50p for Anichebe is good business.

Let's give give some players as much patience and time as we gave the likes of Anichebe and the manager as long as 11 months at least a compared to Moyes's (none of that OFM crap for me) 11 years of mainly disappointment and negativity.

Up The Blues.

Rob Dolby
13 Posted 26/02/2014 at 10:00:55
I don't think many Evertonians would have said that we would be in this position before a ball was kicked this season. We have dominated long periods of games against Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal, Man Utd with a passing style we haven't had for years.

Martinez hasn't been great in the permanent transfer market. We have been over reliant on Lukaku and selling Jelavic has proven to be a mistake.

Martinez probably thought that the Alcaraz would be better than Distin and Jags but they have adapted well to the new system so he will be warming the bench for a while yet. I am not sure about a 5-year contract though.

Kone is the older brother of Victor and needs to be moved on asap. Robles is the new Mucha and will eventually be replaced by some other no-mark sub 'keeper. I have haven't seen enough of McGeady but he hasn't made a bad first impression.

We are still punching above our weight in terms of what we spend on players so I am not sure what people's expectations are after having them lowered for the previous 11 years. I am just glad that we have a manager who treats every game as winnable and as the latest song goes.... When Moyes got off, all the pundits said The Toffees would drop, but we went off to Wigan FC and took their Bobby. Bobbies brown shoes, babe.


Ian Glassey
14 Posted 26/02/2014 at 10:44:09
Madness! Let's all get on Roberto's case: bad tactics, bad player,s everything blue is bad. Give the man a chance, please; we will get a lot better.
James Kirrane
15 Posted 26/02/2014 at 11:04:25
Dick, Alcaraz signed a two-year contract with Everton.

I think Roberto would have used Deulofeu a lot more but for his unfortunate injury in December.

Fingers crossed that Lukaku will return all guns blazing and smash the 17-goal total he scored for the Baggies last season. Three very winnable home games coming up. Onwards and upwards.

Tony J Williams
16 Posted 26/02/2014 at 12:46:12
Robbie, you must not have read many articles then if you think this is the worst on ToffeeWeb.

Overtly pessimistic, yes but certainly not the worst by a long shot.

I think his transfers have been good, apart from Traore, unlucky with injuries, apart from Traore, who was crocked when we loaned him and clearly susceptible to further injury at the time.

Too early to really judge Martinez, next season will be the important one.

Dave Lynch
17 Posted 26/02/2014 at 12:53:39
What Tony said@541.

Next season is the catalyst, he needs some financial backing from the board which for some reason I think he will get.He will know how the club works and where he needs to strengthen.

As for Traore? I would pack him in a cardboard box wrapped in cotton wool and send him back from where he came with 'Fragile' stamped all over it.

Peter Warren
18 Posted 26/02/2014 at 20:06:27
Enjoyable article and I too have concerns over his transfer dealings although not many other concerns at all. Funny because with the previous manager it was the opposite
Chris Leyland
19 Posted 26/02/2014 at 20:28:52
It's interesting that we say Roberto has been unlucky with injuries. The fact is that 5 of his 8 signings have had injuries which have kept them out of a lot of games this season. The reason for his is that many of the people he signed were unfit when we signed them. Gibson (not a Roberto signing) is also out for the season and again was another crock signed on the cheap.

The reality is that we are shopping in Netto not Waitrose and you get what you pay for in life. Not necessarilly Roberto's fault as he can only spend what he is given.

Colin Glassar
20 Posted 26/02/2014 at 20:47:56
No comment.
Dennis Ng
21 Posted 26/02/2014 at 20:45:50
I do have some suspicions on his transfers being injury prone but that aside I still think he's doing great. As Chris (649) said, we get what we pay for.

Dick, while I agree with the worry that RM is not looking long term (as you mentioned in Barry), that would how we operate given our budget. Also, I noticed a lot of movements in the youth setup. Not a case for long term?

I am bemused at the doom and gloom some have, though not entirely unexpected, with out recent defeats. Last I checked, we lost 3 away games at the homes of UCL and title contenders, who, other than spuds who caught us napping, all have very impressive home records all season. I still believe we must win at home and if possible draw or win away to be challenging for top 4 if not the title. But like some of the more optimistic folks here, I can wait for that time to come should it not be this year.

Wayne Smyth
22 Posted 26/02/2014 at 20:57:31
Chris, we've also had injuries to Baines, Barkley, Coleman, Jags, Distin, Oviedo, Pienaar and as you point out, Gibson. I'm sure a few more that I've forgotten too.

None of those were Martinez signings. We've just had a shitty season with injuries to all of our players.

I have far less concerns about Martinez's transfer dealings than most. He's built up a large amount of cash to spend in the summer, brought in a couple of decent permanent signings(McGeady, McCarthy). Got rid of several players that weren't performing for great fee's.

People complain about the loans, but we're now signing players of the calibre of Lukaku instead of McFadden or Straq. I couldn't be happier on that level.

Next season he'll have cash early and a great idea of who is staying or needs replacing because they're not good enough or cannot adapt to his style of play.

I've no worries about our small squad either. Who've we got rid of that was really any good? Fellaini? He didn't want to be here. All the mid-table deadwood is gone. Barry is likely to sign a permanent deal, Deulofeu is a decent bet to have a second season. McGeady should have a good pre-season and be available fresh too.

Next seasons transfer dealings are probably the ones we should be paying far more attention to than the players he's bought in his first window when he only had the cash at the 11th hour and didn't really know the squad, or in January when the right players are not available.

Harold Matthews
23 Posted 27/02/2014 at 11:46:13
Wayne. God bless you mate. Your posts are a real tonic.

Dick. You're being a bit harsh with Alcaraz. It was his 3rd match in eight days after a long absence and he was nowhere near the worst player on the pitch. Apart from one moment when he was outpaced by the little flying machine he did ok. The area of exploitation throughout the whole match was the Jags/Stones channel which was wide enough for a double decker bus to cruise through untouched. A few of the other lads didn't turn up either.

John Zapa
24 Posted 27/02/2014 at 15:44:39
Well written, I agree with most of the points. In my opinion the squad is weaker than this time last year. With many players the wrong side of 30 already, we can expect a decline in the general performances of them next season.

I'm not too bothered at the loan signings as they served a purpose overall, with the exception of the flag pole. It's the first signings that were not good enough. Vic was effectively replaced by Kone. Not so sure that was an upgrade.

A lot of posts were praising Roberto for the good value achieved by the sales of players this season, not sure he had any role in the negotiation with the other clubs in the sale, it's not his job after all.

Next season will give a better indication of what Roberto can do in the market, but I am not so optimistic based on the evidence so far.

Linda Morrison
25 Posted 27/02/2014 at 17:05:56
I've been trying to think has there been any member of what would be classed as out first team that hasn't been injured?

I'm more hopeful for next season providing he gets the backing of the board.

Roberto came from a club that didn't spend big, maybe Big Dunc will help guide him away from older players with a history of injury.

Everton do not have the financial means to carry a lot of injured players as our squad is small

Patrick Murphy
26 Posted 27/02/2014 at 17:23:42
Linda - that old saying "The more things change the more they remain the same" is never truer than at Goodison Park.

"We missed our strikers for most of last season. That was a major factor and that has only been evident this season by the way we have started our play. "The most important aspect of this season is keeping them fit and the other players fit because if we start to build up a number of injuries then our squad could struggle."

Not Roberto nor David Moyes but good old Walter Smith quotes following a 2-0 win over Boro at Goodison in August 2001 - Ironic as it would be at Boro later that season that Walter would lose his job.

So 13 or so years later we are facing similar problems with regards to injuries - I just can't seem to think of what the common denominator is in all - I wonder!!!

Denis Richardson
27 Posted 27/02/2014 at 17:25:38
I am frankly amazed Martinez is getting grief for his signings. I think certain people need to look at the facts and then come to a conclusion and not have an opinion and then choose certain facts to fit that opinion, whilst ignoring everything else.

Martinez in barely half a season has improved our first team a HUGE amount.

We have a solid central midfield in Barry and McCarthy - compare that to Neville and Heitinga from before! Lukaku, even having gone off the boil, is a far better striker than the likes of Jelavic and Naismith. And Deulofeu is one of the most exciting players we've had in the last decade. The latter two don't belong to us but at least for a season (maybe two in Deulofeu's case) they are wearing the blue. McGeady's only been with us a few weeks, the guy boosts our squad and can only get better once he's fully fit - he also did not cost much.

Kone could have been a great signing, unfortunately he got injured and Alcaraz whilst being injury prone was signed on a free so its not like he cost us multiple millions. Robles was always going to be back up for Howard in the short term and we needed a back up 'keeper as we didn't have one after Mucha left.

On the outgoings; Fellaini, Jelavic, Anichebe and Heitinga all shipped out for about 42M and a massive amount off the wage bill. That there is nothing short of a minor miracle. 3 out of the 4 were considered deadwood by virtually everyone and Fellaini has shown at Man Utd that most of the hype around him was just..... hype. He doesn't fit the new passing style anyway.

Oviedo and Barkley have both briefly shown that they will be class acts for the club. These two were not bought by Roberto but he's the one who's actually given them chance of an extended run in the first team. Oviedo's injury was a real blow when it happened and having now seen him play I cannot imagine why Moyes never made proper use of him whilst still moaning about how small his squad was!

Our main issue this season has been injuries - nothing more. As already mentioned above, there is absolutely no way you can blame the manager for the injuries to Oviedo, Baines, Deulofeu, Gibson, Kone, Barkley, Jagielka and Lukaku, to name just a few we've just had really really bad luck and the ones to Delofeu and Oviedo came just when we were on a really good run.

The injuries have caused us huge problems as our squad was never the largest. We have a light squad which Martinez is slowly trying to increase, however he needed to clear some of the deadwood first. Including the loanees, Martinez has brought in 8 players this season, which is not a small number, and all of them have arguably improved the squad. Under Moyes we barely had a decent first XI once you got past the back 5, now at least we have a decent first 14-15 and most importantly, most of the time have players playing in their proper positions i.e. NOT Neville in midfield!

Over the summer we will sign more players and have got 3 long term injuries to come back. Rome was not built in a day, I see we go on a slightly poor run due to injuries and the fickle fans all suddenly start throwing toys out of the prams.

The one thing I personally would have a go at is not signing at least one more striker, especially as Lukaku got injured before January was over. However, Lukaku is now back and he may have gone off the boil as he had no real break before his injury hopefully he'll be raring to go now, especially with the cup game coming up.

I say relax and enjoy the next few games, which are a lot easier than Chelsea and Spurs away hopefully we'll start with 3 points at home to West Ham tomorrow.

Our next 4 games are all against sides below us and the next 3 games are at home if we take 10-12 points from these, everyone will start raving about 4th place potential again....... long way still to go this season.

Jermaine Jennings
28 Posted 27/02/2014 at 19:10:30
It would be better to focus on permanent transfers I reckon rather than loan players... so in relation to the article the squad has 5 new permanent players, Kone, Alcaraz, Robles, McCarthy and McGeady with Fellaini, Jelavic and Heitinga leaving.

So the squad has improved but has the quality improved with the new additions??

in which case only McCarthy and Robles(needs more game time like most goalies) stand out for me as they are young and have a good future but jury is still out on the rest..

Kone missed an open goal from 2 yards which is probably how he injured his cartilage and 5 million on a 31-year-old is bad business!!

In the short term loan players have helped though but I can't sing and shout about them as they're not our players as everyone keeps on reminding me!!!

Jelavic may have been crap but don't sell him until you find a good FIT replacement and he screwed up there big time and said we would be stronger at the end of the window and clearly we aren't...

Michael Winstanley
29 Posted 27/02/2014 at 19:44:08
Dick, nice to read your thoughts.

A couple of points, Alcaraz and Kone have been unlucky with injuries, which is a real shame because they understand Roberto's philosophy, which might have moved us on quicker had they stayed fit. I think Kone will offer us something different to the type of forward play we've seen this season.

I too was very unsure about Robles after his first couple of outings but I thought he did very well when called on to replace Howard, apart from letting that 25 yard screamer in. He showed more composure and confidence which gives me hope he'll come on to be a decent keeper.

As for our loan policy, if you've not had the pleasure of listening to Roberto talk about his squad policy then I suggest you spare an hour and have a listen to this. https://soundcloud.com/followtonians/Roberto-Martinez-meets-the

I think McGeady has the potential to be a great buy but like all good players they need decent players to play with which is where Roberto's loan policy has worked so well.

If Del Boy had stayed fit then it's more than likely he would have developed into a better player. To have witness Del Boy in the flesh is something I won't forget, he's brilliant to watch and I hope we keep him for next year.

Traore, that's a special achievement award that one.

I agree with you we have an aging squad of first team players, what teams don't? If you listen to the link, Roberto states he expects two academy players each season to make to the first team squad starting in two season time.

With Martinez in charge I'm looking forward not back. I like lots about our new style of play, interestingly the annoying aspects of our play haven't changed with a new manager. However, if the transformation of our play is only step one then I would like think once we're on steps three and four we'll be playing even better football and scoring more goals.

Eddie Tully
30 Posted 27/02/2014 at 21:10:31
I very rarely log in to TW, I'm more of a browser. However, I am compelled to comment on this article.

I'm confident of an exciting display by a lot of these players on Saturday. I hope you will be straight on here to eat humble pie if that's the case!!!

I've seen a lot of your comments on the live forum, you're always slagging Roberto off and praising Moyes. It's pathetic to be honest.

Let's nail the Hammers and make Dick eat his pie! COYB.

David Ellis
31 Posted 28/02/2014 at 09:02:19
Look - on the one had people complain our squad is too small and on the other that players don't contribute and cost us a fortune benchwarming...er.....er... you can't have it both ways.

And the injuries are purely luck.

Buying players that get into the first team and never perform that is a bad signing. Not sure any of Martinez's players are in that category yet far from it. Robles perhaps is a work in progress but he's young for a keeper and a good enough back up.

Al Reddish
32 Posted 28/02/2014 at 16:29:19
Since Roberto has taken over, we have released or sold Mucha, Anichebe, Neville, Hitzlsperger, Jelavic, Heitinga, and Fellaini. We may also lose Troare, Barry. Deulofeu and Lukaku. We will be left then with McGeady, McCarthy, Stanek, Robles, Kone and Alcaraz of Roberto's incoming players. Two Keepers, Two lads in their thirties and two midfielders with potential.

This summer has to be a really successful one as far as Bobby Brown Shoes is concerned and I hope he can pull some surprises out the hat as he was well known for at Wigan. The board should be awash with money due to the extra TV revenue and the big profit we made on transfers last summer, whether they decide to back our manager (this would be a new development) or secretly stash it away for a rumoured new stadium (ha ha ha ha) remains to be seen.

However, judging by the evidence of Roberto's transfers so far, there seemed to be a quick fix strategy this season... maybe down to getting players in he knew could do a job, or maybe get some loans on board to give him a year to decide where he needed to strengthen permanently. Only he knows though, in his defence, we are bloody good to watch nowadays and, if he can just find that pacey prolific striker, we could be onto something special.

David Ellis
33 Posted 01/03/2014 at 07:13:05
Al - we are not awash with cash. TV money or not. We lose money nearly every year. Where to do you think a transfer kitty is going to appear from?
Phil Walling
34 Posted 01/03/2014 at 19:58:10
Given this guy's preponderance for signing 'sicknotes' and paying far too much money for the likes of McCarthy, Alcaraz and McGeady, I reckon we shall go bankrupt before we improve on Moyes's 'seventhish on the cheap' philosophy.

But fair-dos, we dominate possession and are pretty to watch. Seems that's all most Evertonians demand these days.

So all's well!

Phil Walling
35 Posted 01/03/2014 at 20:09:07
I guess Kone falls into both categories sicknote and expensive, before anybody asks!
Raymond Fox
36 Posted 01/03/2014 at 20:12:17
We can always rely on you, Phil, to brighten the evening up!

We are not doing too bad though, even with your perceived 'bad' signings.

Si Cooper
37 Posted 02/03/2014 at 00:09:04
Phil - you have excelled yourself this time (unless you are trying to be funny)!

Wasn't Alcaraz signed on a free? Could the manager really have accurately predicted he would be out for so long?

A lot of people seem to think 13 million for McCarthy has already been justified. Personally I think he has done well but there is a lot more still to come from the lad.

The jury has to still be out on McGeady, but if he delivers when established then he won't fall in the expensive bracket.

6 million for a striker with Kone's previous record in the Premier League is perfectly reasonable as well.

That is four players who could still prove their worth to the club that you have flippantly dismissed as costing 'far too much money'.

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