Everton FC reporter Greg O’Keeffe joined our daily EFC liveblog today to answer your questions after an excellent first season under Roberto Martinez.
Gilderoy: How does RM want to use Baines, Oviedo, AND Garbutt next year? Oviedo a midfielder?
Greg: I think it’s a good situation for the manager who is aware of the demands of balancing the Europa League and three domestic competitions. He’s planning to give Garbutt a chance to play in pre-season and show what he can do. Then he will use them as a three, with Baines main man, then Oviedo, then Garbutt and rotate them as he sees fit.
Paul Daly: Hi Greg. Reports suggest we’re set to blow our ‘entire budget’ on Lukaku at £20m. Surely we have more money that that?
Greg: It’s always a very fluid thing trying to nail down Everton’s transfer budget. Few clubs – despite what you read in the tabloids – actually acknowledge what they have to spend. Why would they? It simply gives selling clubs an upperhand.
I believe Everton have a sizeable budget this summer, with a hefty sum left over from the Fellaini deal – as was admitted by Martinez then. There will be added funds, although how much we don’t know, from the new TV deal and PL finish too.
Obviously some of that is instantly absorbed into the club to pay off debts and pay for other things. But there will be money there – just don’t expect Martinez or anyone else to be specific about it.
TheToffeeBlues: Hi Greg, do you know if Roberto has been looking at the free transfer list? There’s a few decent squad players Jordi Gomez etc.
Greg: Yes he’s covering all bases. He’s a pragmatic guy and wants at least six new players so if he spends a lot on a striker e.g. Lukaku, he will need to cut costs with his other deals.
Paul Daly: Steve Tashjian recently left – how big an impact do you think his departure will have on the team?
Greg: He will definitely be missed. Tash is a functional conditioning expert at the top of his game. He’s a popular guy around Finch Farm and I was lucky enough to see first hand how effective his methods are when Everton’s nutrition supplier The Protein Works invited me along to a session during the season.
However, as a qualified physiotherapist Martinez knows how important this sector of the club is. Plans are already underway to replace Steve. I think it will be internal. There are some very talented people already at the club working with the U-21s and women’s team who could get a chance.
Vince Taylor: Is the squad equipped to play in the league and in Europe next term? It’s a lot of football for such a small squad.
Greg: Not currently – but the manager knows that and that’s why he wants six new faces at least.
Peter Brimage: When is the new home and away kit to be released
Greg: I believe the new Umbro home strip is going to be released on July 4.
Joan Bretherton: Do you think Ross Barkley should start for England? Is he ready?
Greg: Hi Joan. I think Ross would probably be better used as an impact sub against sides like Italy or other potential European opponents when the heat has sapped the pace out of the game and he can come on and run riot against tired legs.
Joan Bretherton: And would you have John Stones in ahead of Smalling/Jones?
Greg: I know we’re biased but I’d say Stones is comfortably a better player than both. However in terms of international football – and club level – they have both got more experience which can count in the pressure of a big tournament. It’s a tough one. If Phil Jones can’t recover by June 2 though it looks like John will get his chance. He won’t let anyone down I’m sure.
Phil Smith: Any truth in the Bony rumours Greg? Reckon he would be a good replacement for ROm?
Greg: The manager likes him as a player but the fear is Everton would be priced out of any deal. Swansea want £20m for him and there’s a concern he’s not quite as dynamic as is required to play in Everton’s system. He’s a powerhouse who holds the ball up brilliantly but is he worth £20m?
Kev Jones: What happened with Vellios Greg? Thought the lad was meant to be good?
Greg: He’s got ability but his reluctance to go and prove himself out on loan ultimately cost him a new contract. He was convinced he was first team material after his goal scoring cameo under Moyes and never really had the right attitude subsequently. The Blackpool move was a bit too little too late.
Interestingly he scored the first goal under Martinez – in that 2-1 friendly defeat v Austria Vienna last summer.
Oviedo_Baby3: Do you think Oviedo will get chances next season?
Greg: Yes he has proved his worth during the season and is rated by Martinez. He will get plenty of chances next season in what is sure to be a demanding campaign when the manager will need at least 2 players in every position.
More Everton FC news:
Everton’s all-time World Cup XI: the Blues who starred on the biggest stage of all
Everton seventh in Premier League TV money table
Hodgson has given the country a lift by picking youngsters like Barkley, says Martinez
World Cup watch: Kevin Mirallas and Romelu Lukaku called up for Belgium; Lacina Traore in Ivory Coast squad; Sylvain Distin retires from international football
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