Everton is in the midst of a huge moment in club history. The Toffees currently sit 5th in the table, a single point out from a Champions League spot and are the best defensive team in the Premier League. While the Merseyside club is used to similar results, the Toffees haven’t possessed the levels of young attacking talent the club currently has at its disposal. While the defensive spine can be accredited to a David Moyes’ long tenure, Roberto Martinez has injected a creative flair into Everton. This has created an interesting cross roads in Everton history. Should the club spend money with the hopes of grabbing the 4th spot and the millions of dollars that comes with Champions League play? Or should they settle, sell their top players and reload?
Leighton Baines seems to already be heading out of Goodison Park this January to fulfill his dream to play for Manchester United. However he is not the only player currently being targeted by a top club. Irish Defender Seamus Coleman may be a target for Arsenal depending on how the Gunners contract talks go with Bacary Sagna. While Brian Oviedo has shown his ability to fill in for Baines in the last few weeks, the blow to the depth of the squad will be severe if the club was to lose both Coleman and Baines. There is talk that the Toffees could add Chelsea defender Ryan Bertrand. Bertrand has fallen down Mourinho’s pecking order behind both Ashley Cole and Cesar Azpilicueta. If Bertrand desires a move though he better hope that Chelsea add another full back or Mourinho might be unwilling to give up the depth he has.
Everton has more than a solid base to build on for a push to a Champions League spot. However, there are some issues. Their star striker Romelu Lukaku and super sub Gerard Deulofeu are both loans from Chelsea and Barcelona respectively. Without these two, Everton would not even be close to the attacking side they are now. Unfortunately for a side deprived of funds, this may be the path the rest of Everton’s year. Two players who have been deprived of time at Moyes’s United, Zaha and Valencia, would most likely welcome a move to a stronger side. Clint Dempsey has been another name linked to Everton. While the Fulham deal may look done, the Toffees have had various American connections through the years (Landon Donovan and current keeper Tim Howard) and could use the goals if Lukaku’s form ever dries out.
These moves only help the Toffees this year though, what about for the future? Addition of Moscow winger Aiden McGeady would certainly add to the depth of the club and help the Toffees achieve their goals. Unfortunately, without the guarantee of Champions League money until the summer, Everton will be in a little bit of a bind. Of course the Toffees could sell off their top players like Ross Barkley or Nikica Jelavic in order to add some money to the pot but at what cost. Yes the sale of these two players would help Martinez secure Lukaku for the future from Chelsea, but there is no guarantee the Blues are in the mood to sell him.
In the meantime it appears the Toffees are in for a swoop of the Scottish Premier League. Martinez has been reportedly linked to the purchase of Dundee United stars, Andrew Robertson and John Souttar. Don’t expect to see these two in Merseyside Blue this year though. Martinez will most likely send the duo back to Scotland on a loan spell. However, it is good to see one of the top managers for a top side building for the future.
Martinez recognizes he has a very good squad but there is still a long way to go. Gaining a Champions League spot would do amazing things for the Toffees, and with that money they could go out and do some summer shopping. This January, though, is a different story. If Everton are able to make a move for a decent Irish winger, an offensive solid left back from Chelsea, and a loan for Zaha or Valencia they could have just enough depth to edge out one of the big boys.