Roberto Martinez, like the keenest of anglers, keeps showing that a bit of patience is required to eventually land your, er, fish.
This time the soccer salmon he has snagged, using a combination of cash, the promise of playing time and a handful of mealworm, is Christian Atsu. The Ghanaian winger has been signed up for a season-long loan and, as ever, if Martinez rates him then let’s see what he’s all about.
Everton’s style requires the ability to change pace, especially on the break away from home, but more importantly a system that is designed to isolate fullbacks and consistently produce one-on-one scenarios needs players who can make the most of them. The team as a whole keep the ball and manoeuvre the opposition around, sucking them into tighter spaces until the scene is set: then it’s switched quickly with the invitation for the tricky wide players to ‘fucking skin him lad’.
As stated previously, it will be a bit underwhelming – on last season’s form at least – if Atsu, a Ghanian international who played at the World Cup, doesn’t have the ability to shift Steven Pienaar or Aiden McGeady from the Blues’ starting line-up.
Martinez has talked of still being willing to business right up until the last day of the transfer window, which would make you think he has someone in mind and but he’s not going to be held to ransom. As that deadline gets closer clubs and agents become a lot more amenable, and if you are confident that you are willing to go with what you’ve got for the start of the season, if push comes to shove, then that puts you in a strong position to negotiate from.
Samuel Eto’o’s been mentioned again. As ever, the acid test is ‘where you arsed when you thought he was signing for Liverpool?’ Still, as again stated previously, it’s still Samuel Eto’o so it would be quietly ace if it did happen. It seems unlikely that we are going to pay his batty wages though, and you would have to wonder whether he would be happy playing second fiddle to Romelu Lukaku for what must be one of his final seasons at the top of the game. If you were him, wouldn’t you be tempted by the MLS at this point, while you are still half-decent and you are already Brewstered? A couple of seasons in New York or Los Angeles would be just the ticket.
There’s talk of Aroune Kone possibly returning at some unspecified point but we will believe that when we see it. Hopefully he does come back and looks like the player who at spells for Wigan looked a ‘proper handful’, especially against Everton. At the moment though he just feels like an almost mythical Danny Williamson-type player. Minus the one good game in the derby.
Finally, nothing to do with football, but the ‘controversy’ surrounding how some sections of the media dealt with the death of Robin Williams. What did anyone expect from Fox News in the US or TalkSport over here? These are outlets who employ pundits for their empathy with knee-jerk knobheads. Their tag lines should be: ‘Saying the first thing that was going to come into your head, to save you the effort’.
Just as predictable was the back-and-forth on the subject that makes social media increasingly tiring. The people who feel the need to say how un-arsed they are by the death of celebrities are now more boring than the serial RIP-ers they ostentatiously distance themselves from at every kicking of the bucket, every shuffling off of this mortal coil. Whether you are a fan of Mrs Doubtfire or not, someone like Williams does form part of a shared experience – it’s not unnatural for people to comment on his demise, especially in the circumstances. The constant messages about being in a better place and all that aren’t for everyone, but they don’t really do any harm either, so is there really the need to sound the ‘this country since Diana died’ klaxon every frigging time?