Will Everton finally face the drop?
Everton raked in cash on deadline day with the sale of Alex Iwobi to Fulham for £22m and young striker Tom Cannon to Leicester City for an initial £6m potentially rising to £7.5m with add-ons. Neal Maupay went off the wage bill in a loan move back to his former club Brentford.
The money will be staying in the bank as Everton failed to add any new additions before the window closed, with time in the build-up once more spent on attempting to convince Leeds United to sell Wilfried Gnonto – despite being told on several occasions there was no deal to be done.
The Toffees’ new £25m striker Beto made a good impression against League Two Doncaster Rovers in the Carabao Cup, at least hinting he could fill a goalscoring gap that has been left vacant in a strategy bordering on negligence for more than a year.
This means Everton’s incoming business has seen 38-year-old Ashley Young signed on a free transfer, Arnaut Danjuma and Jack Harrison join on loan – the latter injured on arrival from Leeds United – with Beto and teenage striker Youssef Chermiti brought in from Sporting Lisbon for £14m.
Given Everton’s abysmal start to the Premier League season, three losses, one draw and two goals scored, there will be understandable consternation and concern that there were no deadline-day signings for a squad reduced in numbers from last season and already looking desperately short of quality.
Everton’s squad is threadbare and vulnerable, with real concerns in central defence, where numbers are low after the departures of Yerry Mina and Conor Coady, who figured last season.
This, sadly, is also a reflection of the desperate financial reality Everton now face after years of mismanagement and money squandering which has led to fan revolt against owner Farhad Moshiri and chairman Bill Kenwright as many continue to call for change at the boardroom level.
Everton PL finishes since Farhad Moshiri took ownership of the club
[Source - Everton Football Club PL Table final standings from 2016/17 Footy Stats]
Can Moshiri turn the club’s fortunes around?
One thing Moshiri cannot be accused of — at least until recently — is a lack of investment.
Since he arrived, Everton have spent more than £700m on transfers. And in the absence of a deal to finance the new stadium, Moshiri has bankrolled the project at a cost of around £200m.
As a passionate owner flushed with cash, he told the club during a general meeting in 2017 that he harboured dreams of helping Everton return to the elite.
However, performances on the pitch have not gone as planned with the club growing incapable of matching the ambitions of their top players.
Given their crippling finances, this summer’s recruitment was rarely about best-case scenarios and prime targets but, instead, it came out to be what was realistically affordable.
And while the investment has been there, the patience, vision, and alignment have not and the future can only look bleak for the Evertonians who will be dreading their first top-flight relegation in 73 years.
No doubt Moshiri’s money was meant to be a game-changer but the last two years have been chastening.
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