Everton began the off-season by bidding farewell to long-serving manager David Moyes, with FA Cup winner Roberto Martinez chosen as the man to replace him. The move was generally well-received, meaning the unveiling of a new club badge proved to be the main controversy of the summer as many fans were angered by its radical design. The mooted departures of Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines would also have been unpopular, but as yet there has been no exit for either of the key duo. Pre-season performances have been promising, with a win over Juventus the main highlight, but Toffees fans know the start of the campaign proper will be the real test of their new manager's credentials.
Despite his constant struggles with relegation while at Wigan, Martinez is viewed by many as a manager whose methods will transfer well to a 'bigger club', and Everton are the first such outfit to take a punt on the Spaniard. His main problem at the Latics was a leaky defence, but it is clearly not an area he disregards as his experiments with a three-man back-line show. Martinez is also renowned for his attacking, attractive style of play, something which could buy him some time with the Goodison Park faithful.
Ins and Outs
- Antolin Alcaraz - Free
- Joel - Undisclosed
- Arouna Kone - Undisclosed
- Gerard Deulofeu >em>- Loan
- Thomas Hitzlsperger - Released
- Phil Neville - Retired
The Croatian striker looked to be a truly inspired signing when he joined in January 2012 and went on to score 11 goals before the end of the season. But the strikes dried up last season as he managed only eight in all competitions
Mirallas had an impressive debut campaign for the Toffees, but injury problems prevented the Belgian winger from enjoying an extended run. In limited action he showed how much of a dynamic threat he can be and a big season is expected
If Martinez's defensive problems do carry over from Wigan, then Jagielka will be heavily replied upon to hold things together at the back. The retirement of Phil Neville means the 30-year-old is now captain.
Strengths & Weaknesses
Martinez won many plaudits for his ambitious style of play at Wigan, a strategy which culminated in his side winning the FA Cup last season. But the Latics were also relegated at the end of the campaign and their league form over his tenure was erratic at best. Everton certainly have the players capable of taking Martinez's philosophies to the next level, with Baines, Leon Osman, Mirallas, Steven Pienaar and Ross Barkely all highly-creative forces. The defence is something of an unknown quantity - solid for several seasons but now under the control of a new boss - while Jelavic needs to discover his goalscoring touch to make Everton a truly complete team.
Martinez's raid of Wigan for Joel Robles, Antolin Alcaraz and Arouna Kone was slightly underwhelming but in reality they were brought in for relatively cheap prices and none of the three is expected to be first choice at their position. The recruitment of Barcelona B hotshot Gerard Deulofeu on a season-long did capture the imaginations of Evertonians, but quite how quickly the 19-year-old makes the adaption from the Spanish second tier to the Premier League remains to be seen. Any more major moves in the market likely depend on the future of Fellaini and Baines.
"It's my second season. I played a lot of games last season and I hope to stay injury free and score a lot of goals. Of course I want to make a lot of assists as well and play some nice games."
"It's a huge pressure, but I'm extremely proud of that pressure. David Moyes has set real standards over 11 years, and what he has produced is a platform for the next man to continue."
Facts and Figures
Leighton Baines created 116 goal scoring chances in 2012-13; 12 more than any other player
Everton were one of only two teams not to concede a fast break goal all season
David Moyes used just 23 players in 2012/13, the lowest PL total
Everton made fewer substitutions than any other side in 2012/13
Baines is the only player to have taken 10 (or more) pens and maintained a 100% record
Everton just need to maintain what they've achieved in the last 10 years under David Moyes. The standard they've reached has been incredible over the last decade with the resources they've had and it's a tough job for Roberto Martinez. It's going to be tough for Everton to repeat what they've done under Moyes, but that's the challenge for Martinez. I'm sure he'll see it as a great opportunity and he won't see it as pressure.