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Would a reunion between Cuco Martina and Ronald Koeman be good for Everton?

Would a reunion between Cuco Martina and Ronald Koeman be good for Everton?

With Seamus Coleman still occupying the treatment table, Everton’s new boss Ronald Koeman has had his hand forced into including a right-back on his shopping list of summer recruits to help bolster his new side at Goodison Park. To this end, according to Sky Sports, Koeman has been pursuing one of his former colleagues at Southampton, in the shape of Curacao international right-back Cuco Martina.

 

Martina himself was a Koeman signing when the Dutchman was in charge at St. Mary’s, the now-Everton boss bringing the 26-year-old right-back in from Eredivisie outfit FC Twente on a two-year contract last summer. Since Koeman departed to take over on Merseyside however, Martina appears to have fallen out of favour with new Southampton boss Claude Puel, who has recruited a right-back of his own; former Lyon, Guingamp and Nice full-back Jérémy Pied.

Martina has no featured in the Southampton squad for their first two fixtures of the new season against Watford and Manchester United, and with the Curacaoan believed to be available for a fee in the region of £2.5 million, it seems that Koeman may well be primed to make an offer and raid his former club for the right-back to add to his defensive options.

 

With Koeman keen on doubling up in all positions to get the best out of his Toffees players, a move for a player whom he already knows and trusts is likely, and the experience of Martina will be beneficial as cover for Coleman, with inexperienced 19-year-old Mason Holgate having featured in the position so far this season.

Although aerially and tackling wise Martina isn’t particularly strong, and opposition wingers could expect to profit getting in behind, his contribution for Everton would come in a similar vein to Coleman’s, via his exceptional eye for a pass and his lung-busting runs forward from right-back, whilst Koeman’s placement of Gareth Barry to sweep up in front of the defence would help combat any threat which were to get in behind the full-backs. Width is an important element in typical Ronald Koeman teams, as shown at Southampton, and Martina has already shown he has an eye for goal after a superb long-range strike against Arsenal  in 2015/16 season.

 

It is likely that Martina will be playing in a back-up role when Seamus Coleman does return to fitness, having been in and out of the Saints side last season, making a total of 18 appearances across all competitions. His goal against Arsenal was the only strike he managed in the last campaign, but what he does offer in reserve is reliability, and he is an experienced head with international experience who can be called upon to do a sufficient job whilst the club’s first-choice full-back is sat on the sidelines.

Although Mason Holgate has staked his claim since coming into the side, his youth and inexperience will benefit from the competition of Martina whilst Coleman is out of the side, and it will only help the England U-20 international come of age more quickly and maximise his potential, and he has much promise; as shown by his performance in Everton’s 2-1 win over West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns last weekend.

Undoubtedly the player has good things to offer to the Merseyside club, but the opportunity may suit the player down to the ground also. He is not getting a look-in under Claude Puel at present and a move to Merseyside to work back under a manager who knows and believes in him will do wonders for the player’s confidence and for now at least he has a very strong chance of first-team football, though it would not be unreasonable for Koeman to persist with Holgate at first if Martina does join the club, given the youngster’s impressive form.

 

It is of course down to the player to determine the scale of the impact he will have, but given a run of games, he would help bring the attacking dimension back to the side which a fully fit Seamus Coleman once offered, and with the defensive of Gareth Barry, it seems the Dutchman is more than ready to deal with the threat of players getting in behind when the full-back would roam forward and join the attack.

With reinforcements needed, a Merseyside move for Martina could only mean well for Everton, and with Puel having frozen the 26-year-old out of his side seemingly, there is little chance of the South Coast club re-buffing any approach. Koeman is keen, and we can therefore expect an official approach to be made very soon.


Featured Image: All Rights Reserved by NewcastleUnited.

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