Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Roberto Martinez: Steven Naismith's future is in his own hands

Published 15/01/2016

Sam Byram has been linked with a host of Barclays Premier League clubs
Sam Byram has been linked with a host of Barclays Premier League clubs

Everton forward Steven Naismith remains in limbo while he is injured but manager Roberto Martinez admits a decision to leave lies with the Scotland international.

While the Toffees boss continues to try to strengthen his squad by bringing in Leeds full-back Sam Byram, for whom the club had a £5million offer accepted on Thursday, he is almost resigned to the departure of Naismith.

The 29-year-old has made just five starts this season - the last in mid-October - and the club received a bid for him from Norwich in the last transfer window but it came too late for Everton to find a replacement and so was rejected.

However, it was allowed to stay on the table and despite Swansea caretaker boss Alan Curtis expressing an interest this week it appears the Canaries are the only one to come up with a definitive offer.

An ankle problem has kept Naismith out of the squad recently but Martinez has not ruled out him leaving before the end of the month.

"There has been no approach (from Swansea). There has been another Premier League club that has made a lot of progress in that respect," he said.

"Everything is more or less agreed in terms of a possible transfer.

"At the moment the priority is to see Steven fully fit and available and then probably we will have a sit down and decide the next step."

Asked whether the decision was now the player's, Martinez added: "It is up to a point but it has to be right for everyone.

"We are open to the Steven Naismith situation because in the last days of the previous window it's an open secret Steven wanted to know about his future, and at that time we couldn't replace him and it wasn't right to do that.

"That's been there since day one on January 1. It's never been a question of welcoming approaches and offers, it's making sure we sit down with the player and he's clear with the next step of his career.

"The promise was we would review it in the next window and see how he is. Steven is in a position where he hasn't played as much as he would have liked as a senior player.

"It's very much in the player's hands to be able to make the right call."

Everton are hopeful they can tie up a deal for Leeds academy graduate Byram after agreeing terms with the Sky Bet Championship club.

"There's been an initial approach but from there, for having conclusive news for our fans, is a long gap still," said Martinez.

"We don't do things quickly or panicky. If there's any signing to be made, he has to be the right character, the right addition and that will always be the case.

"At the moment we have to be very careful. I don't enjoy the window clashing with important games.

"Leeds have important games now and we have important games."

Three days after their goalless draw at Manchester City Everton head to Stamford Bridge to face a Chelsea side whom they beat 3-1 - thanks to a Naismith hat-trick - back in October when Jose Mourinho was still in charge.

Guus Hiddink is now in temporary charge and despite some indifferent results all season Martinez is still wary.

"Chelsea are a team full of winning footballers," he added.

""Remember that they won the Premier League last season and that wasn't long ago. So the quality is there and they have players that in one second can produce a moment of magic."

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph