Roberto Martinez knows he must develop more options for Everton to continue its success. The manager understands that while critics feel his early stewardship of his club has been based entirely around slick soccer and passing principles, Martinez realizes he must increase the squad depth and account for the potential loss of loan players this summer if the Toffees are to show the staying power near the top of the table that so often eluded the club under David Moyes.
In that quest, Martinez is reportedly trying to bring Stoke’s Kenwyne Jones, a classic target player but one with mobility and a range of passing skills, to the club. Everton has already signed this window Aiden McGeady, an exceptionally talented wide player who can push inside when needed. McGeady is comfortable on the ball and has loads of pace. The player can take multiple touches and cut inside with comfort, giving the club another option in midfield.
Martinez is also likely to try and expand options on the backline. The highly-touted John Stones bought last January from Barnsley as a right-back by Moyes is being used in central defense by Martinez. While the January window may not be the time to do this, if a transfer bargain presents itself, expect the Everton manager to take the opportunity to sign an additional player in defense.
Everton has shown more pragmatism in recent matches. The possession game Martinez advocates has been on display all season long, but at times the Toffees have struck quickly on the counter-attack and have used set pieces as an opportunity to score goals.
The potential to permanently sign Romelu Lukaku has continued to come up in conversations about the club. While Chelsea would have little incentive to sell, the player is enjoying his soccer on Merseyside and may be able to influence a decision to stay if Everton finish in the top four. Arouna Kone, who Martinez brought from Wigan this past summer, has been injured most of the season but he is a striker that could potentially help Everton should they lose Lukaku next season.
Times are good on Merseyside currently with both Liverpool and Everton contending for a top four finish, while young players develop at both clubs, but we have been teased by Everton before, under David Moyes, only to ultimately be let down. Roberto Martinez knows he must expand his squad and develop a plan B if the Toffees are going to remain top four contenders year in and year out. The January window has given us a glimpse into his thinking in this regard and could provide the opportunity to enhance the squad without disrupting the positive vibes around Goodison Park.