sport

Martinez eyes Traore stay

Everton boss Roberto Martinez admits he is keen to keep Lacina Traore at the club beyond this summer.

The giant Ivory Coast international joined Everton in January on loan from big-spending French giants Monaco, who signed him just weeks earlier from Anzhi Makhachkala.

Injuries have hampered Traore's spell on Merseyside and he played just one game, which was in the FA Cup against Swansea - when he did manage to score.

But despite seeing little of him on the pitch, Martinez is a confirmed fan of the 6ft 8in front-man and is open to extending his deal.

"It depends on our European demands, if we are competing in Europe then we will need four strikers," Martinez told the Liverpool Echo.

"Steven Naismith and Arouna Kone are two players who are important in our squad and we need to make sure we are at the start of the next season with a strong squad and in my eyes, we will be having four strikers in the group.

"Lacina is someone we really believe can bring something different to the team and he is someone we will try to see if we can get an opportunity to sit down and see what is the next chapter."

Talks

Martinez reaffirmed that the club are in talks with a number of their current first-team squad over new deals.

"As I always say we are not going to come out in the press and media and do our business that way," Martinez added.

"But as a football club we will always reward players that perform and develop well.

"We will always work hard behind the scenes to deal and work with those in an efficient manner.

"And when we've done something the fans will be the first to find out.

"We have got a very strong core of experienced players and the signing of Tim Howard, alongside Leighton Baines and Sylvain Distin on new deals, is a massive message.

"And then we have a young group who we are going to allow to develop in our football club and be given the time, patience and the focus that they deserve to grow in to the potential we know they have.

"We always try to go from window to window trying to get in a stronger position in terms of the squad.

"We will never change that."