Martinez: Talent-spotting can be so tough

Wigan's Jean Beausejour
Wigan's Jean Beausejour

ROBERTO Martinez admits he was left with more questions than answers after his summer of scouting at the European Championship.

The Wigan boss declined the opportunity for rest and recuperation in the off-season, spending most of June on the ITV couch offering his expert verdict on the Euros.

When he didn’t have his punditry hat on, Martinez also took the opportunity to run the rule over the cream of European football with a view to bolstering his Latics squad for next term.

Several members of the Greece national side – who Martinez was pictured watching train on the eve of the tournament – were put forward as possible signings.

But, with just over five weeks to go before the season-opener against Chelsea, Wigan are yet to make their first capture of the summer.

And Martinez believes that underlines the problem of talent-spotting on the biggest stage of all.

“You always get two extremes when you are talking about a major international tournament,” Martinez said.

“There are players you have been following for a while, and they have too good a tournament that you end up losing out on them to bigger clubs. Then you have players that, for whatever reason, you haven’t already identified and they pleasantly surprise you.”

It was a similar story at the 2010 World Cup, when Martinez combined punditry work for ESPN America with talent-spotting for Latics.

On that occasion, he failed to snare any of the talent on show – aside from Antolin Alcaraz, who had been signed before the tournament began – having been priced out of the market on a couple of players he was watching.

But Martinez was able to draw on the dossier marked ‘South Africa 2010’ some 18 months later, when he was looking to bring in new blood during the transfer window last January.

“It’s not always about signing players. It’s sometimes a case of increasing your knowledge about certain players, taking information on board for if and when you get the chance to do a deal at the right time,” he explained.

“For example, the first time we saw Jean Beausejour at the last World Cup, he was just inaccessible to us for a number of reasons.

“But we took the information on board, we noted how well he reacted to playing at a major tournament, and we bided our time. Thankfully we were able to do the deal a little further down the line – and he has turned out to be a very important acquisition for us.”

n RODALLEGA linked with switch to Premier rivals Fulham - page 27.