Martinez: Everton stronger now

Roberto Martinez says Everton emerged as winners from the transfer window - not least because they kept Leighton Baines.

Last Updated: 06/09/13 at 16:57 Post Comment

Everton manager Roberto Martinez insisted his club would not be bullied by players or other clubs in the transfer window as he reflected on a successful summer of business.

The Spaniard let midfielder Marouane Fellaini leave at the last minute after Manchester United paid £27.5million - £4million more than a recently-expired buy-out clause - but held on to England defender Leighton Baines.

Martinez felt it was vitally important they rebuffed United's attempts to land the left-back but conceded it was easy as they failed to go close to meeting Everton's valuation after a couple of failed bids considered well below the 28-year-old's true worth.

Now Everton will seek to reward the long-serving defender with a new contract in order to fend off further approaches.

Baines' attitude in not angling for a move throughout undoubtedly strengthened the club's stance, and while Martinez refused to confirm reports Fellaini had handed in a late transfer request, he stressed the final decision was always his.

"Everything was done on our terms and that's what is important," said the Spaniard.

"The contractual situation of Marouane was quite straightforward: his (buy-out) clause expired on July 31 and from that point on the valuation was completely different and he had a premium on top.

"More and more you realise that the club make decisions on what is best for the club.

"If you are contracted to the club whatever the player says counts for very little. If it is not the right terms it is not going to happen.

"We don't have to sell players and we are in a position where unless clubs meet the player's valuation there will never be a decision made - that was the case with Leighton.

"It is never a good time to lose important players - and Marouane was a big performer - but with the manner we handled it we ended up with a good squad with more variety and with a focus not just on the present but for the future."

Martinez is keen for Baines to play a crucial part in both and with that in mind will seek to reward him with a contract which matches his status.

"Leighton is a vital player for us. We couldn't replace a player like him," the Toffees boss added.

"No-one met his valuation so we are delighted he is still with us and we now need to make sure he understands how important he is for the club.

"You are looking for that football happiness and I can guarantee everyone Leighton will enjoy his football and role at the club.

"He's been an outstanding performer for Everton for years and now clearly he's at the peak of his career and we're going to make sure he feels that warmth from the football club.

"What is important is to show him how much we want him and sometimes you have to do it with actions as well as words and that is going to be the case.

"Sometimes that needs to be rewarded from a contractual point of view and we will do that.

"From our point of view we are making sure we are ready for the competition ahead with one of the most influential players in the history of Everton.

"It's vital for the future and for the plans we have at the club."

While Martinez has Baines pencilled in to his long-term plans the loan signing of Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku is a player - initially at least - for this campaign only.

The Belgium striker had an impressive spell on loan at West Brom last season and his arrival at Goodison Park has added a different threat up front.

"Romelu has been in the British game for a while and he had a massive impact last season, to score 17 goals in this league is not an easy task," Martinez said.

"He is only 20 and can do anything: powerful, strong, direct with his running and he is a clinical finisher.

"It is very difficult to find a weakness in the player and that is why we are very excited to see him.

"All we want is for him to fulfil his potential at Everton and make sure he has an outstanding campaign before the World Cup."


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