Transfer news: Everton looking to go fourth with victory over West Brom - and pick up Monaco striker Lacina Traoré ahead of West Ham
The Toffees could be in for a positive 24 hours
Everton will apply for a work permit for Monaco’s Ivory Coast 6ft 8in international striker Lacina Traoré in the next 48 hours, with some aspects of the player’s medical at the Merseyside club understood already to have been completed.
Roberto Martinez, whose side could capitalise on Liverpool’s two dropped points and go fourth by winning at West Bromwich Albion on Monday night, will be hopeful of securing the permit, since West Ham United had already done so in their own attempt to bring him in as a January reinforcement. Though the Goodison Park club will have to secure their own permit for the 23-year-old, the fact that West Ham had already secured one is not seen as a problem.
The 23-year-old, who was on Merseyside on Sunday, will become the maximum fourth loan singing in Martinez’s ranks, alongside Romelu Lukaku, Gareth Barry and Gerard Deulofeu, Though not a typical Martinez player, he will potentially prove a major handful for opposition defences.
Martinez has said he expects his compatriot Pepe Mel to set up his new West Bromwich Albion side in the same uncompromising way as Mauricio Pochettino has organised Southampton, ahead of their two sides meeting at The Hawthorns tonight
Martinez is acutely aware of Mel’s style of football from the pre-season game against Real Betis, which followed the Spanish side spending a month at Everton last summer. The two also have a similar eye for a player, with Martinez – the Premier League manager who perhaps knows Mel best – bringing both Mohamed Diame and Antonio Amaya from the 50-year-old’s Rayo Vallecano side to Wigan Athletic. He expects the same pressing game high up the pitch which has made Pochettino’s Southampton such difficult opposition.
“He gets his teams really well drilled, but wants to get control of possession. He’s not happy just being a team that looks solid and hits you on the counter attack,” said Martinez, whose side can capitalise on Liverpool’s two dropped home points against Aston Villa and go fourth with a win tonight. “I don’t think that’s something that Pepe Mel would enjoy. I think you need give a manager six to eight weeks to put his ideas across and work with the concepts.
“The experience of Pepe Mel will allow the team to perform and then he’ll put his own stamp on it. I don’t think we’re going to see a very different West Brom [against us.] But I do feel over the course of the rest of the season you’ll see changes and a team that want to control games, be energetic off the ball and want to win it back rather than defend deep as West Brom probably have been doing over recent seasons.”
Martinez said he has “plenty of money” to buy a second striker this month but is prepared to risk heading into the second half of the season with only Romelu Lukaku, in the unlikely event of a late hitch with the Traore deal. “We have got money because we managed to get £40m for three players,” he said. “But what is important is not spending money for the sake of it, but with a clear, long-term strategy. For me that is very important. I need to keep the August window in consideration as well.”
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