A busy week of transfers for Everton has seen Roberto Martinez reunite with Arouna Kone, Antolin Alcaraz and Joel Robles, while also bringing in Gerard Deulofeu on loan. How will the young Spanish star manage to fit in at Everton?
Upon signing the deal to join Everton for the season Deulofeu has mentioned that Martinez is a reason why he joined the Toffees – an impressive feat as he was linked with Champions League teams such as Dortmund and Real Sociedad.
The 19 year old was involved with the Barcelona B team last season in LIGA Adelante, Spain’s second division, and was the team’s top goal scorer with 18 goals in 31 games.
Barcelona play a 4-3-3 system and this taught throughout all age levels of the club, including the B team. Martinez used this formation at Swansea and the beginning of his Wigan tenure, but in the last two years the Spaniard has utilised a 3-4-3 system – fortunately this continues to allow Deulofeu to damage the defences through the use of Seamus Coleman in a right wing back position.
Deulofeu can play both on the wing and in the ‘number 10’ role, which suits the Martinez system as his forward continues to move with quick passing and direct wing-play that targets the opposition full backs. Looking at the players used in the 3-4-3 formation at Wigan last season, Deulofeu will most likely line up in the role that was held by Callum McManaman.
Deulofeu makes up for his lack of pace that other wingers have through the exceptional quick feet and first touch that he possesses, and to beat defenders before being able to finish himself or setting up a teammate was used to effect in the Under-20 World Cup where Deulofeu linked with Jese of Real Madrid in exquisite style, and Martinez will hope that the same can be do with Mirallas, Jelavic or Kone.
With the potential departure of Leighton Baines to Manchester United this season Deulofeu has the ability to replace the left backs impressive set plays, however Everton will miss the defensive work that Baines offers in a 3-4-3 – an area that Martinez’s system has struggled with in the past.
Many people question the size of footballers in England, something that has held back the national team, but despite having a small frame Deulofeu is able to combat with the physicality of the Premier League. This comes as a new wave of young Barcelona players start to force their way into first teams throughout Europe, who they have been taught to be able to play a direct game if needed as the Catalan club evolves its youth system.
Martinez has history of loaning in special young talent, obtaining Angelo Hernandez from Manchester United last season, but slowly brought in the young Chilean to help him adapt to the style of the team and level of football (before the importance of the games wasn’t deemed the risk of playing a youngster) so don’t expect a fast start to the season from Deulofeu.
The loan addition of the young Spaniard could prove to be one of the signings of the summer though as a new era at Everton is kicked off with the capture of one of the world’s most exciting young players.