By Danny Wright
Everton have “stepped up” their pursuit of Uruguayan wonderkid Federico Martinez, according to a report.
The Sun claims that the Toffees are in pole position to land Martinez, 21, from the aptly-named Uruguayan outfit Liverpool FC, but face competition from Atletico Madrid.
Arsenal are also said to have been monitoring the flyer, who has a Spanish passport and can move to European teams without having to get a work permit.
It is understood that Martinez has been dubbed as being the next Angel Di Maria in South American due to his exciting style of play on the wings and now Everton’s scouts are looking to convince him to make a move to Europe.
Martinez has made 41 appearances across all competitions this season for Liverpool in the Uruguayan top-flight, scoring one goal and supplying three assists in the process.
The South American flyer is also capable of playing in the centre of midfield and the Sun reports that Everton are now pushing really hard to snap him up in the future to help him reach his potential at Goodison Park.
Football Insider Verdict
Everton made a lot of signings over the summer and in the process they quietly made additions to their Under-23 side too with signings of Josh Bowler and Boris Mathis. The Merseyside club clearly has a plan for the future by signing these young players and Martinez could be the next one to arrive and benefit from the glut of new arrivals. The Uruguayan winger has a lot of first-team experience already under his belt and because he is based in South America he may be able to move to Everton on a cheap deal. Atletico Madrid pose a big challenge to the Toffees in their hopes of signing Martinez, but their transfer ban may have an effect.
In other Everton news, Ronald Koeman has aimed a dig at Crystal Palace for sacking Frank de Boer.