Dave Whelan, having given the Spaniard permission to hold talks with Bill Kenwright, spoke to TalkSport about how he “would listen very keenly to what Everton have to say” if he was Martinez, sparking online debate about whether or not he is the right man to take the Toffees forward. Since then, the Everton chairman has been in conversation with Martinez about taking over.
If I am to be honest, I was – and still am – holding onto a tiny glimmer of hope that the vacancy shall be filled by a manager of higher status. The likes of Rafa Benitez and Vitor Pereira have been mentioned, and although the former has taken over at Napoli, Pereira has spoken to Kenwright according to the Liverpool Echo, and there is still an outside chance that the Portuguese could be in charge of Everton for next season.
Although, given that Martinez appears the likely candidate, I will focus this article entirely on him. I may not be overly optimistic about the 39 year-old initially should he take over, however I believe there is actually reason to be if we weigh up the Spaniard’s attributes. Let’s face it: Martinez feels like quite the downgrade compared to David Moyes, but there are a variety of positives that point in the right direction for Everton Football Club should he be appointed.
The obvious cliché for the popularity of Martinez is that until recently, he kept Wigan in the Premier League since taking over in 2009 when he inherited a squad full of Championship standard players, playing attractive football. The better players that the club could boast, like Antonio Valencia for example, were inevitably snatched from their grasp by those further up the Premier League table.
Therefore, this indicates how Martinez may share Moyes’ talent of ‘getting the most’ out of his players, so to speak. The fact that Wigan Athletic are, surprisingly, the holders of the FA cup would add to this; Martinez seemingly knows how to motivate his players.
In addition, another trait of Martinez is his reputation for being outstandingly clever in a tactical manner. It was not long ago at all that we saw first-hand how well prepared Martinez and his squad were when they deservedly knocked Everton out of the FA cup quarter-final; I would argue that the 39 year-old, with risk of comparing him to Moyes, seems to be able to confidently and knowledgeably apply thorough tactics to a team. It is worth remembering that he initiated the philosophy that brought Swansea City to the Premier League – and Everton have the players to suit a style such as Martinez’s.
When Wigan defeated West Brom 2-3 at the Hawthorns in early May, Martinez was using a system that is beginning to worm its way into football; the two-eight ‘formation’. This is an adaptation of the 4-3-3, where a defender who originates in the back three assumes a pivotal role in front of the two deepest players (excluding the goalkeeper), thus leaving the player assuming the pivot position, as well as the remaining seven, to swarm the midfield and overwhelm the attack. In a way, this sums up Wigan Athletic under Martinez; they were no strangers to scoring, however their defensive record was atrocious due to the vulnerability of quality. Bearing in mind that Everton’s starting eleven is significantly better than Wigan’s, the Spaniard’s tactics and forward-thinking could pay off for the Toffees.
Although Martinez’s potential appointment, that may be announced on Monday, leaves Evertonians simply guessing what the outcome will be, the Spaniard could be an instant success. He also could be a dramatic failure; that remains a possible scenario that we may face. Also, he could be a long-term success – David Moyes’ squad, although it is in the best shape that it ever has been, is ageing. If Martinez is able to re-shape and expand Everton Football Club whilst maintaining the quality of the players and the football (that of course will take a few years), giving a new, fresh feel to the Blues, the Spaniard could be the man to lead Everton forward.
And yet, I can’t help but worry if he was appointed. It’s all very well saying Martinez has won more trophies than Moyes, but who was it that was relegated with the Premier League’s worst defensive record last season? You guessed it, Martinez. Ultimately, I would be fearful of what defensive frailties he could bring with him from Wigan and would he really be the right man to get Jelavić scoring 20 goals per season? He was a defensive midfielder, after all. Moyes was a defender – and Robin van Persie shall be doing an increasing amount of tracking back next season.
Wigan’s success in the F.A Cup can also be tarnished; Everton were not interested in the quarter-final, they faced a Championship team in the semi-final and Manchester City had their own problems with Roberto Mancini (if you ask me, If any of the City players had a problem with the Italian, the final was the ideal match to underperformance in). Plus, if I’m to be arrogantly honest, I don’t want Everton’s squad to be filled with Wigan players for next season.
I am really struggling to form an overwhelming opinion, I just believe it is important to be positive, for Martinez certainly has convincing attributes that Bill Kenwright will be turning over in his mind as you read this. If it is to be Martinez who assumes the role as the next Everton manager, I will be behind him, as I will if it is to be the more spectacular Vitor Pereira. However, there will be a shadow of doubt in my mind if Kenwright chooses the ex-Lactics boss.
Anyhow, at least we won’t be signing Mark Hughes.