Wigan Players Roberto Martinez Should Try and Bring to Everton
Whenever a manager joins a new club, certain sections of the media follow a rather predictable trend of linking him with the majority of his previous club's roster.
While it makes for an absorbing and fairly believable story, it's actually quite rare for players to follow their former leader, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Relying on specific personnel can reflect badly on a manager and suggests he's perhaps not flexible enough to develop alternate styles or work with different types of players. Sam Allardyce at West Ham is a prime example of this, the way he continually goes back for the same crop of players.
Given the Latics' relegation, raiding them for several players is possibly not the best strategy to enforce if the Toffees hope to compete for Europe next season. Having said that, there may be one or two candidates worth considering, especially if Championship football reduces their price-tag.
To delve a little deeper, here's a look at some of Wigan's finest options, along with some thoughts on whether or not they should be pursued.
Where to start. James McCarthy has gradually built a reputation as one of the Premier League's brightest midfielders. His passing ability is up with the very best in the top flight while he would also bring more creativity and provide far more resilience from the central areas than Everton have had this season.
On top of all that, the Irish international is still just 22 and therefore only likely to increase in worth and continue flourishing over the next few years. He is already familiar with Martinez's possession-based system and could be built around in the Toffees' midfield for years to come.
Aside from a fee, that could potentially rule the Toffees out of the reckoning, there isn't a lot going against this deal. However, if it came down to splashing out on either a striker or a midfielder then clearly a striker would be far more in demand.
If funds are available, McCarthy would make an excellent purchase.
Everton are desperately short of strikers and anyone who suggests they could hit double figures for the Toffees in a forward role is certainly worth considering. Especially as that's something both Victor Anichebe and Nikica Jelavic failed to do last season.
Arouna Kone impressed for Wigan during his inaugural Premier League campaign, notching up 11 goals and five assists, which would have made him the Toffees' joint top scorer. He's versatile enough to play in most attacking berths, adds pace and skill upfront, along with an impressive work-rate.
The fact Kone is 29 and still under contract tarnishes the deal, simply because there would be no sell-on value once he signed. According to The Mirror, the Ivorian has a £6.5 million buyout clause, which—if true—is a sizeable obstacle to navigate.
Given their precarious finances, matching that does not fit in with the Toffees' strict business model that demands the club seek players only likely to increase in value. Kone's value would quickly diminish.
Does not represent enough value for money.
McManaman is a rising star of the English game having produced several scintillating displays over the home straight of last season, none more so than in the FA Cup Final where he terrorised Manchester City and rightly picked up the Man of the Match award.
From a fringe player he has suddenly become an integral member of Wigan's squad, displaying pace, confidence and explosive flair coming in off a flank. His ability will undoubtedly be coveted by a number of clubs this summer, but the fact he's a former member of Everton's academy may sway him towards the Toffees.
McManaman's rise has been a rapid one. Until the start of this year an average football fan would have been unaware of his name and his potential. Given his relative inexperience it may be better for him and his potential suitors that he furthers his career by playing week-in-week out in the Championship, instead of risking more time on the sidelines at a bigger club.
With Everton's limited resources, splashing out on a player who has only displayed such impressive form for a matter of months could also prove too much of a risk.
If a reasonable fee can be agreed (£4-5 million) he would be a decent attacking addition.
As with McManaman, Maloney has produced the kind of skill and trickery that many Premier League sides will be interested in acquiring—producing it on a far more consistent basis than McManaman, right through the season.
The Scottish international was arguably Wigan's best player this past year, chipping in with six goals, eight assists and an impressive 66 chances, and, given his age, he may not command such a hefty fee.
However, the fact he's now reached 30 means his value still won't represent enough value for money or meet the basic demands of the business structure the Toffees are forced to stick to.
Whatever Everton would spend would never be recouped later on and paying for contracted veterans is a ploy the Toffees are simply not in position to do. Excluding very exceptional circumstances such as Steven Pienaar.
A good player, but better ways to spend a (probably small) transfer budget.
According to several media outlets—such as The Mirror—Everton are close to sealing a deal for Antolin Alcaraz.
Now out of contract, the Paraguayan would arrive for free, adding depth to the Toffees' fairly sparse roster. As with all these options, he's familiar with Martinez's system and could be a useful addition should Everton's new manager introduce his favoured approach of three at the back.
While it would certainly be an understandable move, there are better ways to spread the wage budget. Alcaraz has hardly been inspiring at Wigan and, despite the lack of a transfer fee, his wages could be spent elsewhere.
Everton have the very promising Shane Duffy in reserve who has been deprived of first-team opportunities. Adding depth to a squad is perfectly acceptable, but not if that depth would be only potentially average when called upon. At 30, Alcaraz won't improve, and the Toffees would be better off integrating youth or spending on a younger player who can be developed.
Better off focusing on youth or spending those wages on a younger product.