By Adefunmiloye Alani

4th Dec, 2021 | 12:10pm

Micah Richards: Roberto Martinez believes Everton have incredible potential

Everton are struggling right now under Rafa Benitez, but Roberto Martinez believes they still have a lot of potential, according to Micah Richards.

The Belgium manager was linked with a return to Goodison Park in the summer as Carlo Ancelotti’s replacement, and while a move did not work out, the former Manchester City defender has told the Daily Mail what the 48-year-old now thinks of the club.

The Toffees will be hoping to turn their fortunes around, but that could take time as they are unable to spend much on players right now due to Financial Fair Play constraints.

Richards said: “Farhad Moshiri, Everton’s major shareholder, has been at Goodison Park since February 2016. His first big decision was to sack Roberto Martinez three months later and try to improve a squad that had been built over a number of years

“Everton should be a club putting pressure on the European places. Martinez, who took the team to fifth in 2014, has regularly told me about it being an amazing place with incredible potential and how he loved his time there, following on from David Moyes.

“Now all the talk is about building a new stadium on Liverpool’s waterfront but part of me wonders whether they have become too sidetracked by that project —there’s no point having a brand new house if there is nothing to put inside it.

“Unfortunately, they have got themselves into a horrible mess, one that has led fans to talk about the prospect of relegation. Everton won’t go down — but it’s going to be a long road back.”

Spot on

Everton are far from being European challengers right now, but they have everything it takes to be challenging for the continental places and only need to get their decisions right going forward.

For a club that have spent £500million since 2016, a lot should have improved had the board brought in the players fit for their project.

While many insist Benitez is not at fault for their current woes, the fans and club do not share the same sentiment.

They could be left to rue their decision to opt for him instead of someone else, and sacking him could be on the cards.

Martinez is still unavailable right now as he is in charge of Belgium for next year’s World Cup, but he clearly loves the club, and should he become free soon, a return to the Goodison Park dugout cannot be ruled out.

He remains popular with the fans and could prove to be the one to take them to the next level after his successors failed.

In other Everton news, the Toffees are plotting January loan-to-buy bid for centre-mid hailed by Jack Grealish last month.

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