New Everton manager Roberto Martinez made his fourth signing of the summer today with the loan signing of Barcelona winger Gerard Deulofeu.
Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal and Bayer Leverkusen had also been interested in the 19 year-old, but key for his parent club in the deal was Martinez’s presence, with Barcelona preferring for their starlet to work under a manager who they believe better understands the football they want Deulofeu to play.
The winger has made just two appearances for Barcelona’s first team but has shone with the B team, bagging 18 goals in 33 games last season and 27 in 68 altogether while being rated as one of the most exciting prospects to come out of La Masia.
Deulofeu has also starred at youth level for Spain, having scored three goals in six games for the U20s as they bowed out to Uruguay in this summer’s World Cup, and has also appeared seven times for the U21 side.
Barcelona believe this season will be key to Deulofeu’s development, and were keen to loan him to a Champions League side – particularly one in England or Germany where the 19 year-old would be able to experience a more rounded and physical game compared to what he has experienced so far in Spain. Seeing his path to the first team blocked by an array of talented forwards, they decided the best option would be to secure regular first team football for Deulofeu out on loan.
Deulofeu is regarded as one of the most talented young players in Spain but has been called “too raw” and “sometimes frustrating,” so Barcelona will be hoping Martinez’s approach to playing attractive football will help the 19 year-old add consistency to his game, particularly with playing for the first team on a regular basis.
Everton have already completed deals for three new players, all of whom worked under Martinez at former club Wigan Athletic and two of which who will share a common tongue with Deulofeu. Striker Arouna Kone was first through the door at Goodison on Monday, while defender Antolin Alcaraz and goalkeeper Joel Robles followed on Tuesday. Martinez is also reported to be interested in signing Spartak Moscow winger Aiden McGeady, while Swansea City’s Nathan Dyer could be a second choice option.
Position: Right wing, Left wing
Stronger foot: Right
Best attributes: Dribbling, flair, creativity
Plays a bit like: Eden Hazard, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi