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Stoke City (A) Wed 4 Mar 2015, 19:45, Barclays Premier League

by Hamish Dufton @efchamishdufton

It is because of his Barca-style football philosophies that Roberto Martinez managed to snare Gerard Deulofeu.

That is the belief of former Barcelona and Manchester United midfielder Jordi Cruyff. The Dutchman formed a firm friendship with Martinez when the pair were playing youth football back in Spain, and believes the former Wigan chief will be a great success at Everton.

And that is why  he was able to tempt Barcelona into sending the highly-rated Deulofeu to Goodison Park. “It’s a hell of a move. He was very sought after by clubs such as Borussia Dortmund and Valencia.

"Barcelona are not usually eager to loan out players, especially not their biggest talents because they want to keep them close and playing the Barcelona way.

“They don’t want other styles to affect their progress. The fact they put him in Roberto’s hands means they trust him and think he will fit in with their style of play.

“You must understand he is one of the better talents at Barcelona and in La Liga. I would say I was proud for Roberto that Everton got him but, honestly, also a bit surprised.”

It’s the impact of the Premier League on fellow La Masia – the Barcelona Academy – graduates Cesc Fabregas and Gerard Pique, now of course back at the Nou Camp, that has also influenced Barca’s thinking according to Cruyff.

“Both Fabregas and Pique of course were products of La Masia but came to England to develop and returned stronger, more experienced players,” he added.

“They each adapted to the physicality of the Premier League. That is what they will want for Deulofeu."
The capture of the youngster is but a sign of things to come for Cruyff - now sporting director at Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv - who believes Martinez will prove a hit at Goodison Park.

“I think a lot of very good managers are first and foremost good coaches and Roberto is that,” he continued. “I think he has the personality to create a  team which plays his idealistic football.

“Everything takes  time in football,  especially when  you’re trying to  adjust and gel together under a  new manager. But I’m sure in the long run the Everton board and Roberto are confident it’s going to work.”

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