Everton has signed Paraguayan defender Antolin Alcaraz on a Bosman free transfer according to reports. The 30-year old center back signed a 2 year deal with the club which will see him reunite with Roberto Martinez.
Alcaraz will be joining his second club in England after spending 3 season at Wigan. He played 68 games in his time with the Lactics, scoring 3 goals with his 6 foot 2 inch frame.
Before he arrived in England, Alcaraz played in Belgium, Portugual, England, and Argentina. Alcaraz has also appeared for Paraguay 24 times as a senior international, and helped his country earn a bid to the 2010 World Cup and finish as the runner up in Copa America 2011.
Alcaraz is not without controversy, he was sent off during the Copa America semifinal for an alteraction, and was suspended for 3 games by the England FA after video replay showed him spitting at Richard Stearman of Wolverhampton Wanderers. Alcaraz later apologized for the incident.
As for how he will fit into an Everton squad with 2 entrenched central defenders, Alcaraz is likely to provide some much needed depth. Alcaraz averaged 22 games each season at Wigan, and his presence in the defense helped solidify what was often a shaky unit. While it would be a shock to see him play as many games for Everton, he could spell Sylvian Distin occasionally which would help the Frenchman stay fresh all season, as well as providing cover in the event of an injury.
Alcaraz will also help if Roberto Martinez decides to play his traditional 3-5-2. Martinez may decide to go with a starting back 3 of Distin, Jagielka, and Alcaraz while pushing Baines and Coleman up into the midfield. It will help to have a player familiar with the system who can help the side.
Many fans are likely to moan about this signing, but the important thing to note is that it was a Bosman. Minus the wages for 2 years, this doesn't cost Everton a dime. With the club needing to fill several spots with squad players, these are the types of signings that can go a long way to helping Everton challenge for a Champions League berth.
The next step for Martinez will be to secure the services of a backup goalkeeper and depth in the midfield. On both scores rumors are swirling about Victor Moses and Joel Robles, both players who spent time with Roberto Martinez at Wigan.