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 By PA Sport

Everton sign defender Cuco Martina after expiry of Southampton contract

Cuco Martina is headed to Everton to play for Ronald Koeman again.

Cuco Martina has been reunited with his old Southampton boss Ronald Koeman after moving to Everton on a free transfer.

The right-back, 27, was out of contract with the Saints after two years on the south coast and has now penned a three-year deal at Goodison Park.

Martina was signed by Southampton when Toffees boss Koeman was in charge and the defender has also played under Everton assistant Erwin Koeman, Ronald's brother, during his time in Netherlands.

Everton have had a busy summer in the transfer market, bringing in the likes of Wayne Rooney, Sandro Ramirez and Jordan Pickford, and Martina admits their approach persuaded him to move to Merseyside.

"Everton is a big club with big ambitions and I'm really looking forward to joining this group of players and the manager as we try to step forward next season," the defender told Everton's website. "Obviously, I know the manager from my time at Southampton, so I know what he wants and he knows what I can do.

"Everton supporters are really passionate about their club and everyone's excited about where the club is aiming. You can see this is a club that wants to achieve something and the players we are bringing certainly show this."

The Toffees' regular right-back Seamus Coleman suffered a double-leg break while on international duty in March so will miss the start of this campaign, while Koeman was also keen to acquire more defensive options ahead of their return to the Europa League.

"Cuco Martina is an experienced player who can perform in different positions at the back, which is important," Koeman added. "It's also important, with the number of games we will face in the coming campaign, that we have strength and competition in the squad.

"I brought the player to Southampton, so I know what he can do for us here and this is why I've now brought him to Everton. He is a player who will strengthen our squad and be able to play in different positions when that's needed, too."

Martina made 36 appearances over two seasons with Saints and scored just once, although it was a stunning long-range strike in a 4-0 victory over Arsenal in 2015. He also captains the Curacao national team and just completed playing at the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Everton's latest recruit was part of the travelling party bound for Netherlands on Monday as part of their preseason preparations. Under-21 internationals Pickford and Sandro, who missed last week's friendly in Tanzania having been given extra time off after featuring at Euro 2017, were also on the plane but Ross Barkley was not.

The club have explained a groin injury has again prevented the midfielder from joining Koeman's squad. Barkley had been given an ultimatum this summer of signing a new contract or being sold but last week his manager claimed his future was no clearer.

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