Nic Davies assesses the mood ahead of Martinez's first season in charge of EFC
For an institution as stable and change resistant as Everton, the close season has seen the club in a comparably constant state of flux with big changes afoot on and off the pitch.
The previous pragmatic, reactive and to an extent semi-successful management team have moved on, taking with them the club captain.
In their place a new, vibrant and idealistic leader has taken charge bringing with him – with the exception of the maverick but untried Deulofeu – some rather vanilla sprinklings to the playing staff.
How much change will follow on the pitch remains to be seen, although we can look to previous Martinez assignments for clues. At Swansea, the Spaniard looked to gradually improve the passes made per game and consequently share of the ball, moving from 200 passes in his first games to almost 3 times that figure as the season developed. At Wigan, pass completion and share of the ball figures went up in each of his three seasons at the helm.
This, combined with the likely first eleven for the opening games being unlikely to show too much variance, would indicate it would be more a case of evolution than revolution.
The Real Betis game will have reigned in expectation somewhat. Whilst the new approach is focused on playing out from the back through midfield, question marks remain as to whether we have the midfield personnel equipped to receive, turn and play through the middle.
Most passes into the midfield zone were simply being recycled to Howard for long kick outs and – without the presence of Fellaini – possession was frequently surrendered.
As well as evolving the style, Martinez will be keen to find a way of improving our poor conversion rate of chances which was the significant achilles heel from last season and particularly so against sides from the lower reaches of the table away from Goodison.
If Fellaini does move on it will give us another problem in terms of losing our key aerial threat, especially as we conceded the second most goals from headers in the league last season. The weekend trip to Norwich represents an opponent we struggled against in the air last season, with the Canaries taking four points from us courtesy of three headed goals.
Martinez is certainly making all the right noises and has brought a vibrancy and optimism to the club that is usually missing in pre-season at L4.
It'll be interesting to see how the Catalan delivers his expansive style whilst harnessing this with our key strength at the back.
Finding the right blend between the two will most likely determine how high up the table we can finish.