Everton today confirmed the long-awaited signing of Cuco Martina on a free transfer.
Twitter: | @CucoMartina has signed a three-year contract with #EFC: https://t.co/DQGtigws9q. https://t.co/faYddtZuEZ (@Everton)
Martina was released at the end of his two-year contract with Southampton at the end of the season and was therefore free to discuss a move elsewhere.
Ronald Koeman has experience of working with Martina from his days on the south coast, and someone that has watched over the Curacao captain’s last two seasons is Read Southampton’s Luke Osman.
So, to get a better feel for what Martina will offer to Everton, I discussed the move with Luke and racked his brain for his opinions on the Toffees’ latest addition!
Cuco Martina has officially become an Everton player today. Is he a big loss for Saints?
Simply put, not at all. In fact, I’m quite glad to see the back of him – as bad as that sounds. We have two good right-backs in Cédric Soares and Jeremy Pied, so there was little point in keeping hold of Martina.
He signed under Koeman in 2015 and was a regular feature under him in the 2015/16 season. How did he play under the Dutchman?
Martina was favoured often by Koeman, with Cédric Soares being benched on numerous occasions. Looking back on it now, it’s difficult to see what Koeman saw in Martina that he didn’t in Cédric! He was okay under him, though. He was always liable to a mistake or two, but got the job done. There were heart-in-mouth moments with him at right-back, but he put in a few good shifts.
What went wrong for Martina last season?
Pretty much everything. He was terrible. Not a lot of players really flourished under Claude Puel at Saints, and he just wasn’t up to it. I think the best phrase I could use for Martina’s displays last season is “Bambi on Ice”. He was a total liability.
He’s been brought in solely as cover for Seamus Coleman. Can he fill the Irishman’s boots, or should Koeman stick to Mason Holgate/Jonjoe Kenny on the right?
Koeman knows Martina and vice-versa – it wouldn’t surprise me to see him lining up on the opening day of the season. However, I think Holgate is a lot better than Martina. He’ll do a job for you in the cup games – maybe not in the Europa League ones – but he’s pretty below par, so I’d stick with Holgate. I’ve heard good things about Kenny, too.
What are Martina’s strengths?
It’s a difficult one, that… Probably his work rate. He has his limitations, but he’s a hard worker and will offer you 100% every single time he pulls on the shirt. He’s a good guy and has a positive attitude. He’ll be able to slot into Koeman’s system easily also, given his experience with him.
What are Martina’s weaknesses?
Everything that involves having a football at his feet.
To summarise – on a free transfer – is Martina a good signing for Everton?
I don’t personally think so, no. While there’s a low-risk strategy behind the move, I don’t see the logic in it myself. Yes, he’s just a cover option, but surely you can do better!
You can follow Luke on Twitter here – @LukeOsmanRS