Following Everton’s announcement that David Moyes has left the club let’s take a deeper look at the favorite to succeed him, Wigan manager Roberto Martinez.
As laid out earlier today, the list of managerial candidates to fill the Scot’s role is quite extensive, and given the circumstances at Everton, perhaps justifiably so.
There are numerous considerations for both the fans and the club.
Evertonians will prefer a British manager or a ‘foreigner’ who possesses good insight of the English game. Many fans speak of the desire to appoint someone who understands ‘the culture,’ not only in the league but at Goodison Park as well. Things like work ethic, spirit, modesty, courage and passion are all qualities that contribute to the club’s identity. After all, Evertonian’s are “born, not manufactured.”
The club will want a manager who is young, up-and-coming, and can be acquired on the cheap. They’ll want a manager who has proven he can work on a shoe-string budget and knows how to get the most out of his players. The club will also want someone who is in for the long haul and can continue Moyes’ good work of making the dark days of the 1990’s a distant memory.
The consensus is that Martinez is the top candidate to satisfy these needs, although some concerns remain over his four major qualities.
One major quality Martinez possesses is that he is incredibly loyal, which goes a long way at Goodison Park. The problem is, does Martinez’ loyalty to Wigan go too far?
When clubs like Aston Villa and Liverpool made past inquiries about his services he simply reaffirmed his commitment to Wigan and chairman Dave Whelan, whom the manager deeply respects.
The question then becomes, what will it take for Everton to convince the Spaniard to sever his ties with the Latics and become loyal to the Toffees?
The most likely answer is relegation and money. If the Latics go down to the Championship, Martinez will be miles more likely to leave Wigan. Not only will he want to continue managing a club in the top-flight, but if Wigan go down the Spaniard will be forced to take a cut on his £2 million salary. Suddenly, the £4 million per year that Moyes has been making at Everton makes a move to Goodison much more tempting.
A second accolade that Martinez possesses is the proven ability to operate Wigan on a small budget.
The financial constraints have forced him to operate with one of the bottom three wage bills in the Premier League yet, year-after-year, he has managed to keep the club in top-flight football.
Eye for Talent
Martinez has a wonderful eye for talent.
In his four year tenure at Wigan he’s signed the current life-force of the Latics by bringing in Shaun Maloney, Ivan Ramis, James McArthur, Jordi Gomez, Franco Di Santo, Arouna Kone and Roger Espinoza. It’s a market savvy that mimics the purchases Moyes has made over his time at Everton and one that will go a long way to impressing the notoriously frugal Toffee chairman, Bill Kenwright.
Style of Play
Martinez’ best quality is that he cultivates a beautiful brand of attack-minded football.
It’s an entertaining style that many Evertonians criticized Moyes for failing to implement. To achieve this, the Spanish manager typically utilizes a 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 formation, which Everton has experimented with in the past and could foreseeably implement with Phil Jagielka, Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines (assuming the left-back stays at Goodison Park).
Detractors will argue that with Martinez’ offensive flair comes a defensive ineptitude. It’s a point that’s difficult to argue against as the Latics have conceded a league worst 67 goals this season. Of course it should be noted that Martinez’ current portfolio of center-backs includes the likes of Gary Caldwell and Paul Sharner. Nevertheless, a tidy defense is something that Everton has long prided itself on so if Martinez comes to Goodison, he’ll need to be mindful of the tradition.
So how does Martinez feel about a possible move to Merseyside?
Unsurprisingly, the Spanish manager – who’s side plays Manchester City in the FA Cup on Saturday and is in the midst of a league relegation battle – remains mum on the topic. When asked recently whether he has thought about replacing Moyes at Everton, Martinez replied:
“At this moment it would be a waste of time. The most important thing is to be as ready as we can for Saturday and then the two other finals we have in the league after that.
“What goes around on the outside doesn’t affect us. We won’t lose any focus.”