Roberto Martinez’s decision to bring Wigan old-boy Arouna Koné along with him to new club Everton when they activated a £6 million buy-out clause in his contract was one which was met with some raised eyebrows on Merseyside. Will the Ivorian be able to live up to his hefty price tag?
An integral part of relegated Wigan Athletic’s winning FA Cup run last year, Koné netted 13 goals in total last season for the club. A strike rate that is hardly prolific in itself, but bettered in its context: The former PSV and Sevilla forward played the majority of last season as a lone striker, and one in a side who obviously struggled for long stretches of the season at that.
Everton fans might have been hoping for more given their increased ambitions over the past few seasons under former boss David Moyes; and indeed might have baulked at the £6 million transfer fee paid for a player fast approaching age 30 by a club with limited transfer funds, but Koné did clearly show last season that he does possess the talents and the strength to cope with the demands of English football.
His ability to hold-up play and link up with the midfield was demonstrated nowhere more brilliantly than during Wigan’s memorable FA Cup Final win over Manchester City back in May, and this is obviously a dimension of his game that Martinez will be keen to see replicated at his new club.
The inauspicious start made to his Everton career – failing to score or make any real impact in his first four games for the club – will not have done anything to allay the fears of Everton fans that they may well have overspent on Koné, but the proof of how good an addition to the Everton squad he turns out to be will likely be an interesting and important aspect of any success the Merseyside club will hope to have this season.