If Moyes goes, who should Everton bring in?

Alex Livesey

David Moyes is reportedly off to Old Trafford, leaving a managerial hole at one of England's biggest clubs. What should the Toffees do about it?

Everton can't get a break. Their manager, who's been at the helm of the club for more than a decade, is about to head to pastures new, and basically nobody is talking about the club he's leaving. It so happens that David Moyes has been lined up to replace the greatest manager in history, and the situation at Manchester United is rightly demanding much of the media attention, but it's difficult to deny that the Toffees are being hard done by here.

Moyes' achievements at Goodison Park demand respect. While he hasn't actually won anything, he was never expected to, and he's overachieved in almost every season considering the club's relatively meager budget and historical mediocrity. And now, it's looking incredibly likely that he'll scurry off to replace retiring legend Sir Alex Ferguson.

Which raises an important question: Quis restituet ipsos restites?

Should Moyes leave for United, as now seems inevitable after years of being publicly courted as Ferguson's successor, Everton have big shoes to fill. Who'll take over for him? Happily, it looks as though a happy ending is in sight. If Everton pride themselves on overachieving with limited resources, there's another team in the league who rather publicly fall into that category as well.

By all rights, Wigan Athletic should be in the Championship or League One. They're a team in a small rugby town with few fans and less money. And although it looks likely that their Premier League tenure will come to a close this season -- the Latics are three points from safety with two matches left to play -- they've survived in the top flight for eight full seasons, most of which have involved narrow escapes from relegation.

The man most thoroughly associated with Wigan's repeated mad dashes to safety has been Roberto Martinez. He's had to rebuild from scratch for each of his four seasons in charge, tinkering his way to safety in his first three thanks to some inspired player development and tactical tweaks. While it looks as though the magic may have run out this year, the fact that the club still has a mathematical chance of staying in the league is a mark of them overachieving -- they should have been gone long ago.

Martinez, in other words, is a specialist in getting the most out of very little. Wigan are Everton two notches down, a club who have to squeeze as much as they can out of the approximately nothing they possess. It's exactly the sort of job Moyes has had to do, just ten places further down the table.

Wigan's impending relegation, however, means that it's probably time for Martinez to move on to bigger and better things. And that's great news for Everton, who are fully aware of the game their manager has to play. David Moyes is a resourceful, canny overachiever whose success considering the players he has at his disposal is difficult to explain. Martinez is cut from the same cloth, and will almost certainly be available in the summer.

Should Moyes, as expected, be announced as Manchester United's new manager, Everton at least have an obvious candidate to replace him this summer. That's good news for everyone except Wigan, and even they'll realise that by this point, Martinez deserves bigger and better opportunities than they can give him.

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