Already Everton has made a bit of a splash in the transfer window, and with half the month left there is still business to be done. As part of our coverage we posed a few questions about the window to our writing staff. Here are their answers. Part 2 will be up tomorrow, and note that some answers have been amended due to completed business during the window. What are your thoughts on these moves? Will they happen, and more importantly should they happen?
1. What are Everton's top 3 needs during the transfer window and how would you rank them?
Sean L: If I had to choose, I'd say we need another right winger, a striker and maybe another attacking minded midfielder to bolster the ranks. Kevin Mirallas has been a bit on-off, although he's been unlucky (Stoke away being a prime example) so another player for that position would be nice as Deulofeu isn't technically ours. The other two positions, midfield and centre forward I'm not sure we essentially need as next season we'll have Darron Gibson and Arouna Kone back from injury, but Gibson is more of a ball playing midfielder than one who could be backup for the days Barkley isn't at his best so it would be nice, whilst a third striker would hardly go amiss, if Jelavic leaves of course.
Tom: A striker is the number one priority. Romelu Lukaku has been fantastic this season but we have to remember that he is only 20 and will need a rest in the second half of the season. Nikica Jelavic may have grabbed two goals against QPR last week but I feel his time at Everton is up. He should only be allowed to leave though once a permanent replacement is found.
Secondly, I think we need to boost numbers in attacking midfield. The formation Martinez employs, with three players behind lone striker Lukaku, puts a lot of burden on the likes of Kevin Mirallas, Ross Barkley, Steven Pienaar and Gerard Deulofeu. Mirallas has yet to shine this season, Pienaar is starting to show his age, while Barkley and Deulofeu's form will almost certainly drop off as tiredness kicks in. A versatile, pacy forward would allow them to have a hard earned rest in the coming weeks.
Finally, a versatile full-back to offer support to Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines would give us vital depth. Bryan Oviedo has been fantastic in Baines' absence but he versatility means he can easily be played further forward. While Tony Hibbert, as much as I love the lad, is not good enough to start games any more.
Adam: Martinez has already added a winger, which I would have listed as the third most important need for the club. Hopefully McGeady will fit in well, and between Mirallas, Pienaar, Oviedo, Naismith, Deulofeu, and Aiden, we will have more than enough depth there. Their next two needs are both up front; the team really needs to sign a backup striker, especially now that Nikica is gone, and then either needs to work toward getting Lukaku long-term, or find another first string striking option long-term. If the latter cannot be found until the summer, the club will certainly be alright though.
Darren: Given the average of the four centre halves I'd probably look at a younger centre half, even if we buy and loan out right away. He obviously doesn't fancy Shane Duffy, Heitinga is off which leaves Stones as the only one below 30. An adaptable midfielder would be useful, however with Jelavic now gone my priority would be another striker.
Sibi: Striker, Striker, and young permanent midfielder signing. We seem to be set at defense even though Distin and Jags are getting older. Alcaraz provides great cover while youngn's Stones and Duffy are the future. Our back four are set for the future. Midfielders are fine but I would like Martinez to sign one more young guy for the future (maybe someone with a lot of potential). We have James McCarthy, the glass made Darron Gibson, and Ross Barkley as our center midfielders (holding) that we have permanently. With the addition of McGeady we are flush with wingers and attacking midfielders, although everyone we have are a bit advanced in the age category. A young gun there would be splendid (Not Magaye Gueye). That leaves striker where we are desperate after Jelavic leaves for Hull. That is the most urgent need even though both Mirallas and Deulofeu can both play striker if needed.
Max: Definitely a striker now. Lukaku has been good, but not quite as great as has been reported. He's been off colour for a few weeks now and could do with a rest. We're also in need of an alternative number 10. Barkley's injury has bought this into focus as Osman can't do the job we need in that role, there are also times where the young Englishman will need a rest. Finally, keep hold of the players we've got, and get them fit!
Brian: Striker has to be the first priority. Even last year a proper striker likely gets us into Europe if not into the Champions League. Following that I'd like a defensive midfielder on a permanent transfer. If Gareth Barry or James McCarthy gets injured we have to turn to Leon Osman or John Heitinga, not exactly names you want out there on a permanent basis. Following that central defense is the next step, but that can always keep due to having 4 center backs available, 5 if you count Shane Duffy.
2. For each of these areas of need, who should Martinez try to buy?
Sean: Going on speculation I genuinely do like Tom Ince. He's young, exciting, and good on the ball, plus he's English which is an added bonus. The rumoured £4mil for him now would be a bargain (I'm willing to forgive previous ties to that lot across the park) and there's no telling what the management style of Martinez could do for his abilities.
If I was being optimistic, I'd love to see Juan Mata at Goodison Park. He's not happy at Chelsea, he'll want to go to the World Cup and he's a fantastic footballer. Now of course, it's unlikely we could afford him or his wages, although the Fellaini money should be there, and Chelsea are unlikely to sell to a league rival. At the same club, Kevin de Bruyne is looking to leave Chelsea as well and had a wonderful season in the Bundesliga last year but would also be pricey, though he has many years ahead of him. Lewis Holtby doesn't get much game time at Spurs, and neither does Sigurdsson for that matter. With the situation West Ham find themselves in, Ravel Morrison would probably jump at the opportunity to come here and is looking like the talent many thought he would become, whilst I've always been a fan of Robert Snodgrass at Norwich.
Outside of the Premier League, Ivan Rakitic of Sevilla is a very good player and Javier Pastore reportedly wants out of PSG, but at £20million with high wages, that could probably go into the same category as Juan Mata.
Centre forwards are a tricky subject and are often more miss than hit. Looking in the Premier League, Dimitar Berbatov could be a cheap capture and his talents are well known, though his temperament and general laziness might not go down well, never mind the wages he probably demands, Sunderland are struggling and I like Steven Fletcher, he's scored goals everywhere he's been and would offer something different, whilst I admire Shane Long. Being ambitious again, Real Madrid's Alvaro Morata looks a talent and Rodrigo at Benfica is doing well. I've also seen Mohamed Salah a few times in the Champions League and he looks special, though all three have been linked with the big clubs. It really is a matter of how high Martinez is looking, though I feel he could sell the club to anyone.
Tom: There is no real obvious striking candidate in the market at present, Football Manager knowledge aside. Domestic-based players will probably be too expensive and not worth the risk, players such as Jordan Rhodes, Loic Remy and Danny Ings in the Championship. Dusan Tadic of Twente has been heavily linked but I can't say I've seen too much of him. On this occasion I think we need to place our faith in Martinez and his scouting team. Just behind the striker, Tom Ince, who we have been heavily linked with, would be a fantastic signing in my eyes as he would slot along side the likes of Barkley and Mirallas nicely. At the back, Andrew Robertson of Dundee United is just the sort of young, keen forward thinking player our team needs.
Adam: Tom Ince has been rumored to be interested in a move to Goodison, and would be a solid replacement for Jelavic, backing up Lukaku for the rest of the season, and hopefully pushing for more time next season. Ideally, the club could get Lukaku on a permanent transfer to remain the club's top striker, but I have serious doubts Martinez and Co. will be able to pull that off.
Darren: Tough one, particularly given the hostility of the January transfer window. For defence, I'd possibly look abroad. At this moment, names evade me. I can think of the youngster at St. Etienne, but it appears Chelsea are in for him. In midfield, I'd honestly like Milner. I rate him and he can play across the field. Striker wise, I'd love Lukaku permanently. I also like Dzeko although he's in and out at City and will command a high fee. Wayne Rooney is the stuff dreams are made of, so I think Batshuayi from Belgium will be the one.
Sibi: Striker has always been a tricky position to fill. Too many people are streaky or get injured too often, and there just aren't too many complete strikers out there. Michy Batshuayi seems like a decent one as long as we don't overspend on him. His European record is a little alarming but we can't pay too much attention there since Standard is pretty horrid in Europe. If we really wanted to push for Champions League we could try for someone like Eduardo (although that's not a long term option). The young Aleksandrr Mitrovic from Anderlecht also seems to be a phenomenal young talent worth to take the risk on. Hopefully, Martinez can work his magic to bring some no name striker in and develop him.
Max: Up front is tough, none of the names being mentioned hardly get the pulses going, but January is a difficult month to buy quality, though it can be done. I think it'll be a name we haven't mentioned yet, someone new. For midfield, again, no-one jumps out and you'd think we wouldn't gain much from another loan move from abroad. If rumours are to be believed and Lewis Holtby is on his way from Spurs, there's a player that will only improve under Martinez, and he's a true Blue.
Brian: A pipe dream would be Jozy Altidore up top. The American has struggled for goals and playing time at Sunderland, but he can score, and with Martinez I think Altiodre would have a great teacher. He wouldn't break the bank like other options, and he is still young enough to have a few years with him. The key for Altidore is service, and we have him covered from all parts of the pitch. In the midfield I'd really like to make Barry's deal permanent. I don't know if it is possible because of wages, but it would make things a lot simpler. Holtby would be a good option, but I don't think he will be worth whatever price Spurs might want us to pay.
3. Aiden McGeady has now joined Everton. What are your thoughts on the young winger?
Sean: I like him; he was very good at Celtic and is still only 27, so his best footballing years could be ahead of him. The move to Russia was always money motivated, and he's struggled, so I'm sure he'll be keen to grasp his chance in the Premier League and prove his doubters wrong. He will bring quite a bit of international experience to the team and the mentality that Martinez has given these players means that nobody in this squad has low ambitions, he could give this guy the confidence and freedom to flourish.
Tom: I haven't seen enough of McGeady to judge him completely, but I do admire the fact he made the move to Spartak Moscow from Celtic four years ago. British players rarely venture beyond their own shores and certainly not to somewhere like Russia. Even though his time in Moscow looks set to end on a sour note he will undoubtedly have learned from the experience and should slot into our squad nicely.
Adam: McGeady is an ideal player to fill our needs on the wings. He had 11 goals and 24 assists in 71 matches with Spartak, which is a little lower perhaps than supporters might like, but he brings blistering pace, pure wide play, and ensures that Mirallas and Pienaar are not overworked without having to concede ability. When Deulofeu returns from injury (and hopefully has his loan renewed for next season), Everton ought to have a wealth of talent at the wing.
Darren: Depends. He's very much hot and cold. Also has a temper on him. I think if he trims down and screws his head on we have a quick, skilful, positive player who will no doubt be an asset. Maybe he will allow Mirallas to be deployed as a striker? However, if he steps out of line or doesn't fancy it he will be a liability. He was highly rated at Celtic. He was a fans favourite at Moscow, despite arguing with fans and breaking microphones and wrecking dressing rooms! So, it's safe to say he's passionate and expressive!
Sibi: We got him. And I think it's a great deal of business. Gives defenders headaches and we got him at his footballing peak at a cheap price. Low risk, high reward (hopefully his weekly rate isn't astronomica
Max: He's a low risk signing from a financial point of view, but the big risk is that his fiery personality will cause rucks within the squad. David Moyes spent ten years fostering a spirit within the club and Martinez has built on that in his seven months in charge. Hopefully his man-management skills will keep the Irishman in line. He has the tools to be an asset to the club with more consistency.
Brian: This seems to be nothing more than a depth move, and for that I like it. McGeady essentially slots in behind Mirallas at right midfield, possibly overtaking him if the Belgian continues his poor form. He has a bit of talent, and his willingness to go to Russia is a good thing in my eyes. Hopefully Martinez can turn him into a consistent performer, especially if Mirallas needs to play an attacking midfield/ striker role going forward.