Deadly Gerard Deulofeu may be playing his way bank to Barcelona

Everton 4 Aston Villa 0
Deadly Gerard Deulofeu may be playing his way bank to Barcelona

The 21-year-old Catalan winger was the pick of an impressive Everton crop as Roberto Martinez’s side raced into a four-goal lead inside an hour against a Villa team that is surely destined to end the campaign in the bottom three, regardless of the recent appointment of French coach Remi Garde.

But even allowing for the appalling quality of the opposition, this was a devastating performance from Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku, who each claimed two goals, and the creative and virtually unplayable Deulofeu.

And that is where Martinez’s problems start. Under the convoluted terms of his €6m transfer from Barcelona to Goodison last summer, the Spanish giants have “buy-back” first refusal at the end of this season for €9m.

Even before Saturday, Martinez had spoken openly of his fears Barca will do precisely that.

“I think he feels at home, he feels he is understood and feels the love of the fans, and he is prepared to understand what the team needs from him,” said Martinez. “We are seeing a different player from the one we had here on loan two years ago.

The fact that Deulofeu is captain of his national team U21s, and scored five goals for the side in his last two games, suggests his departure from Goodison almost inevitable.

“It is a very talented generation so for him to get that honour is because he can handle that role and he is prepared for it,” added Martinez of his player’s international career.

A half-saved Deulofeu shot allowed Ross Barkley to tap in an early opener for Everton before Lukaku’s superb header and a scrambled Barkley effort, after yet more catastrophic Villa defending, gifted the impressive Barkley a second.

After the interval, Lukaku completed the rout at the end of a flowing move but Everton might have added five more in the closing quarter-hour alone, such was their dominance.

So one-sided was the encounter that watching Ireland assistant Roy Keane will have learned little new apart from the fact that Seamus Coleman and James McCarthy are in rock solid form, while he also witnessed a short substitute cameo from Darron Gibson, adding to the 18 minutes of league football he has played since mid-March.

Defender Ciaran Clark, meanwhile, was one of many Villa players to endure a day to forget.

“We don’t have much time no, but I knew the situation before, and nothing has changed,” said Garde who claimed to have already appreciated the size of the task facing him at Villa Park.

“Nothing will change until the last day we have to play a game in May, because probably the last game on the last day will be crucial for Aston Villa, and for other sides too.

EVERTON (4-2-3-1): Howard 6; Coleman 7, Stones 7, Funes Mori 6, Galloway 6; McCarthy 6 (Gibson 84), Barry 7; Deulofeu 9 (Mirallas 72, 7), Barkley 8 (Osman 72, 6), Kone 7; Lukaku 8.

Subs not used: Robles, Lennon, Naismith, Cleverley

ASTON VILLA (4–5-1): Guzan 5; Hutton 6, Richards 5, Clark 5, Richardson 4; Gil 4 (Gestede 57, 6) Veretout 5, Westwood 6, Gana 5 (Sanchez 46, 6), Grealish 4 (N’Zogbia 73, 6); Ayew 5.

Subs not used: Bunn, Bacuna, Sinclair, Lescott.

Referee: M Oliver 8.

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