News Column

Football: Atsu loan to Everton has no strings, says Martinez

August 15, 2014

Andy Hunter



Roberto Martinez insists Everton's fruitful business relationship with Chelsea does not include a tacit agreement with the Stamford Bridge club over the futures of Ross Barkley or John Stones.

Everton concluded a third deal inside 12 months with Chelsea on Wednesday when Christian Atsu arrived at Goodison Park on a season-long loan. The clubs arranged an identical deal for Romelu Lukaku last summer and finalised a permanent move for the Belgium international last month for an Everton record transfer fee of pounds 28m.

For their part, Chelsea were interested in Barkley and Stones before the England pair signed four- and five-year contracts respectively this summer. Those contracts, plus a new deal for Seamus Coleman, demonstrated Everton's intent to build a young, Champions League-chasing squad under Martinez and the manager has insisted co-operation over Atsu and Lukaku will not enhance Chelsea's prospects of one day acquiring his England internationals.

"Not at all," said the Everton manager when asked if Chelsea wanted first option on Barkley and Stones during the transfer negotiations. "We have a good relationship and a professional relationship and I want to believe that Chelsea feel they can trust us in sending players out on loan. I don't think that relationship goes any further."

As was the case when Lukaku initially joined on loan, Everton do not have an option to sign Atsu on a permanent basis should his stay prove a success. "It is just an arrangement that suits all three parties," Martinez said. "And we just hope he is a better player in 10 months' time."

Martinez has monitored the 22-year-old, who impressed for Ghana at the World Cup, since his emergence at Porto but admits the winger needs time to adapt following a season on loan at Vitesse Arnhem. "He is a penetrating player and unusually for a winger his link-up play with team-mates is very good."

Everton remain in the market for another striker and are interested in re-signing Lacina Traore on loan, although Monaco want an inflated permanent fee for the Ivory Coast international.

Captions:

Roberto Martinez is still looking to land another striker on loan, with Lacina Traore being the name in the frame



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Source: Guardian (UK)


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