Everton’s lack of intellectual recruitment during the Farhad Moshiri era since he acquired a 49% controlling share of the club in 2016 has proved to be underwhelming, highlighting Everton’s hierarchy, with the fans holding them to account. The bulk of the criticism has come to owner Moshiri, who now owns 94.1%, and Chairman Bill Kenwright, the two have overseen losses of over £371.8m in the last three years.
High spending with a lack of results not only just comes with a price but also significant threats of restrictions from FFP, Everton so far have not been found in breach of Financial Fair Play rules, however, to avoid a breach, the club have to be smart with their transfers and when they do them- to comply and not post any more significant losses.
Due to the FFP threats placed upon Everton, the Premier League has an agreement with the club to oversee all transfer business for the foreseeable future. Everton are keen to put things right and that’s highlighted in the Toffee’s recent transfer windows – last summer they only spent £1.7m, with that fee all coming from the Demarai Gray transfer whilst all other incomings were free transfers.
In the window after, [January 2022] Everton spent higher at £33.8m, bringing in Vitaly Mykolenko for a total of £21.2m from Dynamo Kyiv and Nathan Patterson for £12.6m from Rangers. These two transfers were offset by the sale of Lucas Digne to Aston Villa for a total of £27m leaving Everton’s net spent for January at -£6.8m.
Although Everton sold Richarlison before the season’s financial year ended on the 30th June, there has been a significant lack of incomings at Goodison Park compared to realistic rivals at this point,in Leeds and Nottingham Forest.
However, Director of Football Kevin Thelwell and manager Frank Lampard have evidently been sure to fix Everton’s leaky defence of last season with the signing of experienced defender James Tarkowski, arriving on a free transfer after his contract expired with Burnley.
With the season opener against Chelsea now less than two weeks away, Tarkowski remains the Toffees’ sole signing of the window thus far. Everton have been linked with numerous different players this summer but there seems to be one common denominator – the financial structure of any payment.
Everton would prefer to pay a small upfront fee for a permanent transfer with guaranteed installments and performance-based add-ons, similar to the deal that brought Dele Alli to the club. This approach is causing several issues as the selling clubs aren’t looking to comply with the buying style and would prefer to receive the bulk of the fee upfront.
An area Everton are clearly desperate to strengthen is midfield, with Frank Lampard having to switch his tactical approach due to a lack of a natural no.6 in midfield. Links recently have suggested Everton are interested in 28-year-old Guido Rodriguez, Real Betis’ highly rated defensive midfielder.
The Argentinian is a regular for the national team, having been capped 24 times and played a part of the team that won the Copa America in 2021. Rodriguez is also one of the first names on the team sheet for Real Betis, making 81 appearances since he joined in January 2020.
Real Betis reportedly need to sell Guido Rodriguez due to financial difficulties, and this could provide Everton with the opportunity to sign the midfielder for a lower fee than the reported £33 million. Having arrived from Mexican side America, the midfielder has two more years left on his current deal with the Verdiblancos.
Another midfield option linked is out-of-favour Chelsea youngster Billy Gilmour, who would likely arrived on a loan deal. Frank Lampard is no stranger to Gilmour, having managed him at Chelsea during his tenure, who Gilmour arguably played his best football at the London club under.
Gilmour was dismissed from Chelsea’s USA pre-season tour and looks set to leave this summer, but his loan at Norwich last season does not provide the full picture as he was often asked to play in a rather unfavourable role and his development was hindered due to the scarcity of game time. A loan spell under a manager that is a big fan of the player could be great for both parties.
Everton have also been linked with Morgan Gibbs-White, and after a successful loan spell at Sheffield Utd the offensive midfielder has attracted interest from several Premier League clubs such as Nottingham Forest and Crystal Palace. Gibbs-White could implement the creative element to Everton’s midfield as the club look to replace the goal contributions provided by James Rodriguez of 2020-21.
Although there’s interest in Gibbs-White, Wolverhampton Wanderers seem determined to keep hold of the midfielder and he looks in no rush to depart so any fee would be inflated and probably too much for Everton to spend on a singular player, reports have claimed Wolves are looking for a fee in excess of £30m.
Moving forward into attack, following the departure of Richarlison – who gave Everton the majority of their goals and assists last year — the Toffees have been linked with players such as Maxwel Cornet from Burnley who has a £17m relegation release clause, but once again, the issue is payment, with a reported offer of a loan turned down by Burnley and interest has seemingly faded since then.
Cornet would be a welcome addition to the Everton side, playing 28 games and scoring 9 for a Burnley side that lacked quality, not a like-for-like Richarlison replacement but a player that would definitely help the team’s absence of creativity. Whether they can convince the Clarets to part with the Ivorian, however, remains to be seen.
In the past few days, Everton have reportedly completed the signing of Ruben Vinagre from Sporting, pending an official announcement, a deal that could prove smart business considering the FFP constraints – a season-long loan covering the left back’s wages at £13k p/w with an option of €20 million at the end of the campaign.
Vinagre made 18 appearances for Sporting and assisted twice, a player that would provide welcomed cover to Vitaly Mykolenko as Everton look to clear out Niels Nkounkou after an unconvincing loan spell at Standard Liege.
On the topic of outgoings, Everton are looking to move on Andre Gomes and are reportedly willing to accept a relatively low transfer fee as they aim to relieve his wages from the books.
Gomes has been underwhelming during his tenure at Everton and was given a contract of £120k p/w in 2019, signing for £22.5m after a loan from Barcelona. A reason for the poor spell was largely down to an ankle fracture, leaving the player sidelined for almost a season.
Another player that could leave is Salomon Rondon. Although brought in as cover for Calvert-Lewin by Rafa Benitez, the Venezuelan striker proved numerous times last season that he isn’t cut out to lead the line in the Premier League anymore and the club could look to sell him for a low figure, but it’s unclear if he will have many suitors.
Everton are evidently restricted by FFP and will need to be very smart this summer in order to comply with Premier League rules and secure the long-term future of the club whilst also not compromising the short term. The board and Kevin Thelwell will have a large task ahead of them to provide Frank Lampard with his transfer targets as they look to avoid the drop.
By: Adam McNulty / @EFCDaily
Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Chris Lee – Chelsea FC