Everton manager Roberto Martinez is optimistic that he will be able to complete the loan signing of Lacina Traore despite reports that Monaco could pull out of the deal.
• O'Farrell: European hopes may fade unless Everton act now
The French Ligue 1 club have been forced to reconsider their striking options after Radamel Falcao suffered a knee injury that could rule him out for several months. Colombia international Falcao was carried off on a stretcher during Wednesday’s 3-0 French Cup victory at Chasselay Monts d'or Azergues. And that has led to suggestions that Monaco boss Claudio Ranieri will decide against sending Traore on loan.
Ranieri signed the 23-year-old striker from Anzhi Makhachkala on Jan. 4 with the intention of loaning him out to get him regular games. And with Everton having secured a work permit for Traore on Tuesday, Martinez is hopeful that the deal will still go through.
He said: “We hope that [Falcao’s injury] is not something that should affect the decision to allow Lacina to go out on loan. It would go down to what the player needs in terms of his development.
“At the moment, the deal is not completed, so it’s difficult for me to comment. It’s a situation where we’re going to find things out quickly over the next few hours.”
Martinez, meanwhile, says there is “good will” on both sides to get a new contract sorted out for left-back Leighton Baines, despite refusing to put a timescale on when it will be signed.
The England left-back, whose current deal expires in June 2015, was the subject of three unsuccessful bids from Manchester United during the summer. Having held on to Baines then, Everton began talks to extend his contract, but have still to secure a signature.
At 29, Baines is aware that signing a long-term contract would effectively commit him to Everton for the rest of his career, and Martinez says he understands why the defender would want to be certain he is making the right decision.
The manager said: “There’s nothing to announce yet. The vibes are good. But it’s something that, until it’s done, you don’t really know.
“He’s the sort of character that you want at the club. We’re going to work as hard as we can. But everything is very positive, and I think there’s a good will from both parties to get it concluded.”
Asked if he felt Baines wanted to stay, Martinez added: “He’s always said that. As a player, when your contract is running down, you’re going to have some thoughts as to what’s next. He’s never dropped his standards, and even in periods of difficulty, especially when the window was open in the summer, he’s always been a pristine professional.
“He’s an icon for Everton, and we’ll work as hard as we can to keep him happy, keep him excited, keep him motivated in trying to grow with the football club.”
Martinez will be without right-back Seamus Coleman for Saturday's FA Cup fourth-round trip to League One side Stevenage as he is recovering from the hamstring injury sustained during Monday’s 1-1 Premier League draw at West Brom.
Defender Antolin Alcaraz continues to recover from a muscle injury, while midfielder Steven Pienaar has a groin problem. Striker Arouna Kone and midfielder Darron Gibson remain absent with long-term knee injuries. But Martinez is hopeful that on-loan Barcelona forward Gerard Deulofeu might be available for the home game against Aston Villa on Feb. 1.
Deulofeu, 19, has not played since tearing his hamstring during the 4-1 win over Fulham on Dec. 14, and will not be available for the Merseyside derby at Anfield next Wednesday.
But Martinez said: “Gerard is not too far away. I would be very surprised if he’s not available at the end of next week. That will be really positive. We knew his injury was going to be really tricky for the type of player Gerard is, because he is a sprinter.
“As a football, you need to be well healed from that sort of injury before you come back and exercise. I will be delighted if we get Gerard back at the end of next week.”