What has Martinez got? What does Martinez need?

Posted by Luke O'Farrell

Bill Kenwright, Roberto MartinezGettyImagesBill Kenwright said it took Roberto Martinez around 45 seconds to convince him he was the right man for the job

Roberto Martinez made all the right noises during his first press conference on Wednesday. Clear on his future intentions, the ambitious nature of the man shone brightly as Martinez outlined his reasons for accepting the Everton job.

The positive statements made for a refreshing change. Somewhat of a pragmatist, David Moyes often spoke of reaching 40 points and going from there. Martinez instantly targeted Champions League football, though quick to remind those present that the process will not happen overnight; few could argue with the merits of either statement.

Inheriting a strong starting eleven, the overriding priority is retention of the so-called star players. Unfortunately, the Marouane Fellaini release clause is common knowledge these days so the Belgian appears the most likely departure. However, as Bill Kenwright pointed out during the press conference, “the others are not for sale”; words the Everton supporters are sure to remember during the transfer window.

Glancing at the current squad, several areas would benefit from astute improvements. Right through the spine of the team, from goalkeeper to the much-maligned centre forwards, Everton need to add quality and depth to a wafer-thin squad.

Tim Howard is the last line of defence for the Blues, the American a constant presence between the sticks following his arrival from Manchester United in 2006. Maintaining a consistent level of performance, the first cracks developed last season when an erratic campaign led to calls for demotion. For better or worse, the lack of viable alternatives ensured a stay of execution.

Understudy Jan Mucha made just 10 appearances in three seasons, but his release merely increases the calls for goalkeeping reinforcements. The Slovakian’s exit leaves Howard as the only senior keeper; therefore, while two signings would be ideal, a capable understudy is the bare minimum.

Strong on the surface, the underbelly of the defence desires fine-tuning. Entering the final year of his contract, the club may opt to cash in on John Heitinga, or the Dutch centre-back may engineer his own move in search of regular football. John Stones is highly rated along with Shane Duffy, a player who has featured in the past, but additional centre-back cover would improve matters.

Everton will resist any moves for Leighton Baines, the England man bordering on indispensable. In terms of impact on the side, Baines is the most valuable player, having ended the season as the most creative player in the Premier League. Behind him are the highly rated Luke Garbutt and the criminally underused Bryan Oviedo, a player who should receive more of a chance under Martinez.

The right-back candidates comprise of first-choice Seamus Coleman and the experienced Tony Hibbert. Comparatively well-stocked in the wider areas, central defence and goalkeeping recruits are the more pressing concern for the new manager.

Midfield is the area in need of specific care and attention. The first port of call is Darron Gibson. Hugely influential within the Everton side, Martinez has to find a way of ensuring the midfield man remains injury-free.

The other central midfield berth warrants the most consideration, though much depends on where Fellaini begins next season. Leon Osman is another year older, a detail that began to show toward the end of the season, and Everton will hope the promising Ross Barkley can fill his creative midfield role.

While best used at right back, Phil Neville found himself in midfield last season. His departure, coupled with the release of Thomas Hitzlsperger, simply necessitates the strengthening of the midfield. An addition in wide areas may warrant thought, yet with various players able to fill the wider berths, central midfield remains the biggest concern.

In attack, a new striker is a prerequisite unless Nikica Jelavic can rediscover his best form. Despite immeasurable improvements in the last campaign, Victor Anichebe lacks the finishing abilities for a side chasing European qualification. Other younger options have potential, but many supporters would welcome further depth in the striking department.

For years, the anemic squad has struggled, the players tending to run out of steam toward the end of the season. Given that funds dictate the transfer business, Everton have never been able to bolster the numbers to the desired level. After confirming the release of Mucha, Neville and Hitzlsperger Wednesday, one or two purchases will not suffice -- multiple additions of the right quality are essential.

Working at Everton’s Finch Farm training complex Wednesday night, seemingly cementing his reputation as a a student of the game, Martinez has hit the ground running. His Everton tenure begins, officially, on July 1, the transfer window opens. Overall, an intriguing summer lies ahead as supporters are bound to cast a keen eye over any transfer business carried out by the new manager.

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