Last season, Roberto Martinez received praise for his ability to get the most out of players on loan. Romelu Lukaku and Gareth Barry played a huge role in Everton qualifying for the Europa League, while Gerard Deulofeu, and to a lesser extent, Lacina Traore were able to score a timely goal or two in their time with the club.
Those moves, along with the improvement of Ross Barkley, gave Martinez a reputation for being able to get young players ready for consistent first team football. Barcelona were reportedly so impressed with the work that Everton did with Deulofeu that they would look to send other young players to Goodison Park in search of top level first-team action. But to date, the only player that Everton have taken on loan this year is Chelsea winger Christian Atsu, who has yet to have the impact that his predecessors did.
Despite a relative calm on the loan front (and the transfer front for that matter) Everton are reportedly ready to cash in on some of that goodwill with Barcelona. Reports have surfaced that Martinez and company may look to take 18-year-old forward Adama Traore on loan and possibly bring Deulofeu back to the club on a permanent basis.
There's no sugar coating it at this point, Everton have been absolutely disappointing this season. For a team that has remained largely unchanged from last season's top-five run, the Toffees have been unable to find the spark that put them within seven points of the Champions League. Something needs to change with this squad, and bringing in some energetic young players from one of the best youth set-ups in the world could potentially make a difference.
Traore currently plays for Bareclona B in La Liga's Seguna Division and has been having himself a very solid year. According to Transfermarkt, Traore has made 15 appearances, playing 90 minutes in 13 of those game and notching two goals and eight assists. After looking at some of his highlight videos it becomes clear that much like Deulofeu, Traore has blazing quickness, great dribbling ability, good vision and an ability to score goals.
Many had hoped that Everton would be at the front of the line when Barcelona put Deulofeu out on loan again. However, the winger instead signed up with reigning Europa League champs Sevilla. Deulofeu has not been without success in his time with the Spainish side, with two goals and seven assists in all competitions per Transfermarkt. If reports are to believed (and with it being silly season, you can't believe everything that you read) the Barcelona man could be available for £8 million when the summer rolls around.
So there you have it, Everton may have the opportunity to inject a some fresh blood into a squad that is struggling to get results against lesser competition. A chance at a top-five finish may be be quickly vanishing, but Everton still have the Europa League and FA Cup to compete in and it's never bad to have options, especially if those options come from Barcelona.