Everton have started planning for the era under new owner Farhad Moshiri by targeting Villarreal teenager Alfonso Pedraza for a summer move.
Alfonso is a 19-year-old winger who has just broken into the first team at El Madrigal, having starred for Villarreal’s second team as well as Spain Under-19s. That Spain team won the European Under-19s Championship in Greece last year, bringing Alfonso and others to the attention of Europe’s biggest clubs. His team-mate Mikel Merino agreed a move from Osasuna to Borussia Dortmund last month.
Alfonso is a powerful, direct left-winger who is thought to be well suited to a move to the Premier League. He has impressed for Villarreal B in the Premier League International Cup, helping his side through to the semi-finals, where they will face Porto. He would probably cost Everton, who travel to Aston Villa on Tuesday evening, roughly £2m.
Roberto Martinez said that the Moshiri investment would allow Everton to be far more ambitious. “We have to show we are ready to take the club to the next level,” the Everton manager said. “When I started at Everton our ambition was to look at the Champions League positions. The investment from Farhad Moshiri will take us to a different level in terms of being able to get there. It can accelerate the process.”
Martinez’s opposite number at Villa Park this evening, Rémi Garde, admitted that his side’s desperate plight was giving him sleepless nights. Garde has been unable to revive Villa’s fortunes since replacing Tim Sherwood as manager in November, winning just two Premier League matches.
“I am not sleeping very well, as you can guess,” said Garde. “I never relax, I am always watching football into the night. I am fully focused on that. I will try to analyse what I need to do, what I can change. I try to do my best in my position but it is difficult.”