Long and Winding Road

By Ciaran Duff 27/07/2015  0 Comments  [Jump to last]
As we all know Martinez had a fantastic first season followed by a very disappointing one last year. So, the conventional wisdom is that next season is make or break for him. He has had time to build his own squad and should be able to show his "true colours" by now surely?

While contemplating this and our current squad/transfers, I got to thinking about whether this is fair or accurate. What if Roberto Martinez is looking at a longer-term view (eg, 4-5 years) for his "project"?

As we all know it is almost impossible to compete against the seemingly unlimited resources of top 4-5 teams. The only (long-term) way around this is to develop your own youth and try to sign up young prospects.

We know that Martinez is very keen on developing young players and has done so at previous clubs. So, maybe this is his real underlying strategy for getting us to "the next level". Look at the current established players in the squad who will be under 30 in 2 years time:-

Stones (21)
Lukaku (22)
Besic (22)
Deulofeu (21)
Barkley (21)
McCarthy (24)
Oviedo (25)
Robles (25)
Cleverly (25)
Coleman (26)
Gibson (27)
Mirallas (27)

Combine these with upcoming fringe players who are on the bench or on loan and expected to come through:-

Ledson (17)
Henen (19)
Galloway (19)
Grant (20)
Browning (21)
McAleny (22)
Garbutt (22)

While Roberto did sign Barry, Kone, Alcaraz and he kept on Hibbert, Osman and Pienaar, it seems to me that he was/is using them to assist in the transition of younger players, giving them time develop. If we manage to hold onto our crop of young players, develop the ones coming through, and sign a couple of upcoming starlets (Sergio Roberto would be nice) then maybe we could go to the next level.

However, as this is a long term plan it would involve some short term pain as we go through this transition and development phase. While I obviously don't know if this is indeed his strategy, if it were, then I for one would certainly back it.

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