The finer details ironed out, Everton announced the first arrival of the Roberto Martinez era earlier today. Former Wigan frontman Arouna Kone has followed his boss to Goodison on a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee upwards of £5 million.
However, while the limelight currently falls on the Ivorian forward, a club legend recently discussed the impact and ever-increasing potential of another forward player within the Everton squad. Well versed in the traits required to be an attacking success at Goodison, Andy Gray recently gave his thoughts on Kevin Mirallas -- another hoping to reach similar levels of worship on Merseyside.
"I thought he finished the season really well," Gray told evertonfc.com. "What I was impressed with was that when he got his chance he took it."
Although dogged by injuries throughout the campaign, Mirallas ended the season in fine form to return respectable league figures of three assists and six goals.
It will be interesting to see where Martinez employs Mirallas, who is able to play across the forward line. "He can play in the wide areas of the pitch where he can run at people, he can play off the front and if you get him in the middle of the pitch in real dangerous areas he can cause problems," Gray said.
Accomplished in advanced areas, Mirallas spent most of his first season on the right side of midfield. Fleet-footed and possessing a rapid turn of pace, the Belgian is comfortable in this position -- only Leighton Baines (353) fired over more crosses in a blue shirt last season (120) -- and showed signs of a promising partnership with Seamus Coleman.
Occasionally switching with Steven Pienaar, Mirallas also linked up with Baines at various points during the campaign and only those two players created more chances for Everton last season. Nevertheless, though primarily used on the flanks, the former Olympiakos player looks sharpest in central areas.
Four of the goals notched toward the end of his opening campaign attest to this. Firstly, there was the ice-cool finish against Reading, then came the slaloming run from his own half to decide the home fixture against Stoke. Mirallas went one better at White Hart Lane, turning the Spurs' defence inside out before placing a fine finish beyond Hugo Lloris, but the best arrived in the final home game of the season.
Many of the more refined players in the side played a part in the goal; Darron Gibson, Marouane Fellaini, Pienaar and Baines continuing a multiple pass move that began deep in the Everton half, with Mirallas on hand to provide the finish.
Offering a glimpse of him and Everton at their best, the opener against West Ham bodes well for the season ahead especially under the guidance of a manager intent on a possession-based style. Attempting more dribbles than his teammates (84) despite just 1,831 minutes of Premier League football, the Belgian possesses the ability to unlock even the sternest of defences.
Working with a manager capable of utilising various formations, Mirallas may once again find himself used in several positions in 2013-14. That said, fully fit with a complete preseason behind him, the tricky forward is primed to spearhead the Everton attack in the forthcoming season.
Statistics via EPL Index