• Premier League

Martinez coy on move for Eto'o

ESPN staff
August 14, 2014
Premier League storylines this season

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has refused to be drawn on the prospect of a move for Samuel Eto'o but insists he is not desperate to make further signings in attack.

Martinez goes into the new Premier League season light on options up front despite the club-record £28 million signing of Romelu Lukaku from Chelsea.

Martinez said: "In football, you always have to try to use the window to your advantage. If there's anything that can help the team to be prepared until the next window opens, we'll always look into that.

"In terms of the squad that we have, I'm delighted with what we've achieved in terms of the continuity that we've got. That's allowed us to carry on working on what we did last season.

"In terms of being desperate to bring someone in, the answer's no. But we're going to try to use the period from now until the window closes to see how strong the squad is and whether there's anything we need to help the players we have. Clearly, we'll try to do that."

Lukaku and fellow Belgium international Kevin Mirallas are still regaining full fitness, having only recently resumed full training after playing at this summer's World Cup in Brazil.

With Arouna Kone not yet ready to play as he recovers from a knee injury sustained last October, 19-year-old Chris Long started in attack when Everton played their final pre-season game against SC Paderborn in Germany last Saturday.

Cameroon international Eto'o is without a club after being released by Chelsea at the end of last season, and has attracted interest from around Europe. Liverpool have considered him as a potential signing to help increase their options in attack, while Ajax have held talks with the 33-year-old.

Reports in Italy have suggested that Everton are also interested in the forward, but Martinez says that his decision on whether to bring in another striker is likely to hinge on how quickly Kone can regain full fitness.

Lukaku and Mirallas could yet figure in Everton's opening Premier League fixture at Leicester on Saturday, but Kone definitely will not, as he has yet to resume full training after 10 months out of action.

Martinez says he will not be forced into a panic signing, despite the fact that his side face the additional demands of six Europa League group stage matches between now and January.

"A lot will come down to how Arouna Kone adapts to being fully fit. It is a big area that we're going to keep an eye on," Martinez said. "I want to make sure that Arouna Kone is in a position where we can make a good decision to take us from now until January.

"I think it's important that the players we have at the club get an opportunity to show what they can do. I don't want to bring in players just for the sake of it because a position looks a little bit light. I want to make sure that we know all the information as to where the players are.

"At the moment, with Arouna, it's difficult to say when he's going to be fully fit. I've got an incredible confidence and belief in Arouna's ability as a footballer, and if he's fully fit very soon, I think we'll be very strong in that position.

"At the moment, the squad is very well balanced. I do feel that the important players we had last season all came back, and that's a really good starting point."

Martinez, who said that right-back Seamus Coleman faces a late fitness test on a hamstring problem, has dismissed reports that Kone is set to be sold 13 months after his £5m arrival from Wigan Athletic.

The manager said: "I don't know where that rumour is coming from. There's absolutely no truth in that."

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