"Money can't buy you Stones," sang Roberto Martinez to himself in the shower last summer, letting the warm drops of water wash his worries away. Dreams of a top 4 finish or at least a strong challenge for the Champions League spots no doubt danced in his head. Like a proverbial Lester Burnham, this, was the high-point of his year.
As it turned out, money couldn't buy us Stones, but Stones couldn't buy Martinez a good defense or consistent results in accordance with the talent level available to him at Everton. It may yet get him an FA Cup, now that all the good teams are out of the competition, but that may not be quite enough to rinse the stink off their league campaign.
Is a mid-table and ultimately disappointing finish good enough to keep the likes of Romelu Lukaku (never shy to state his ambitions) and John Stones at the club? Are the incoming millions of the new majority stakeholder good enough to mete out appropriate pay raises to the team's young stars? Martinez doesn't sound so sure of himself anymore.
"Not really, no [Everton's future doesn't depend on repelling bids for "jewels" such as Lukaku, Barkley, or Stones]. If Manchester United cannot keep Cristiano Ronaldo, that is a sign of a modern game. If you sell a player for those sorts of amounts, you can get the benefit of adding three or four players."
-Roberto Martinez; source: Guardian
Ideologies aside — I'm of the firm belief that selling and replacing one 'five-star' player with three 'three-star' players is a terrible way to achieve any sort of proper ambition — it looks like the door might be open for Chelsea, or Manchester United, or whoever to swoop in, dump a load of change on Everton's doorstep, and abscond with one of their three, potentially world class players.
What say we? How much loose change is there in Abramovich's cushions?