New signing Niasse is different: Martinez

Oumar Niasse (in red) in action against Sporting's Ewerton on Nov 27, 2015.
Oumar Niasse (in red) in action against Sporting's Ewerton on Nov 27, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Roberto Martinez said Oumar Niasse's versatility will give Everton "a different quality" in attack, after the forward sealed a £13.5 million (S$27.6 million) move from Lokomotiv Moscow on Monday.

Niasse became the third-most expensive transfer in Everton's history when he signed a 41/2-year deal on deadline day.

The 25-year-old, who wanted a move to the English Premier League because his wife is based in Manchester, is not eligible to make his Everton debut against Newcastle United at Goodison Park today but could play at Stoke City on Saturday.

He said: "It's a big dream to play in the Premier League and also to play for Everton. I know Everton are one of the big clubs in England with history, the fans and the great players, so I'm very excited and happy to be here."

The Toffees' outlay on another striker will raise questions about Romelu Lukaku's future, with the Belgian expected to be targeted by several European clubs this summer, but Martinez claims Niasse represents a different option to the strikers at his disposal.

The Everton manager said: "Oumar brings a different quality to what we already have. He's got a really good physicality - he is very strong and powerful.

"It's not just scoring goals, he penetrates teams and opens up teams in the final third, which allows others to benefit from his work as well. He can play in different positions."

Everton are without a win in their last five league games but dispatched Carlisle United 3-0 in the FA Cup on Sunday to give themselves a much-needed lift. But they face a revamped Newcastle, who are keen to end a run of just one win in eight league games against Everton.

Manager Steve McClaren could hand debuts to Andros Townsend, who sealed a move from Tottenham Hotspur for a reported £12 million last week, and Seydou Doumbia, who arrived on loan from Roma.

"I'm very happy. The acquisitions have been very good," said McClaren.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 03, 2016, with the headline 'New signing Niasse is different: Martinez'. Print Edition | Subscribe