Did deadline day expose Everton’s owner as worryingly inexperienced?
With the leagues best carefully rounding off their business last week, it was Everton that were left ruing what might have been for them this summer.
For the purpose of balance it is worth noting that it hasn’t been all bad for Everton. In fact there has been much to celebrate this summer on the blue side of the Mersey. Lavish spending and confirmed participation in the group stages of the Europa League has left Evertonians with much to look forward to going into the season. The club have invested nearly £150m on an array of prodigious and youthful talents; the likes of Jordan Pickford, Michael Keane and Gylfi Sigurdsson being the headline acts. In fact this summer has been like none before it for the Goodison faithful. With the handbrake firmly off, new owner Farhad Moshiri has bolstered the club with a combination of his own resource alongside the much-publicised Premier League TV rights deal. Everton are quite rightly the ’dark horses’ of the race for a coveted Champions League place.
So why accuse the club of ineptitude?
That said, deadline day and those leading up to it marked a hugely frustrating period for fans of Everton Football Club. Ronald Koeman had been quick to highlight the need for an experienced target man as the keystone of his burgeoning side. In addition a backup left back to support an ageing Leighton Baines was highlighted as a priority area. Nikola Vlasic and Dennis Adeniran were the final pieces of business for the blues (neither of which fill either particular vacancy), whilst Callum Connolly has been bizarrely allowed to leave on loan. The general feeling, and one that will most likely come to pass, is that Everton have come close to a brilliant window but are left agonisingly short in the areas that will truly matter for them this season.
Farhad Moshiri is a breath of fresh air, exuberant and impetuous in his approach, his stewardship may well lead Everton back to the big time in the years to come. Yet that naïve exuberance is matched by clear inexperience, facets that were brutally highlighted in the final days of the window. The clear case in point for this was his deadline day interview with Jim White on Sky Sports. Such an interview from the very outset can viewed as professionally questionable, does Moshiri really want to follow in the footsteps of industry experts Simon Jordan and David Gold? The footballing heavy hitters tend to keep their own counsel on matters of player negotiation, very rarely would you see the likes of David Dein or Gill expose themselves in this manner publicly. Refreshingly open maybe, but not necessarily on a subject you would encourage your club’s key decision maker to be so.
The other concerning point was the fact Moshiri seemed to be ill-informed and factually incorrect in his assessment of the Ross Barkley deal. He made the following comments:
“The two clubs agreed a deal of £35m, I think personal terms were agreed and after the medical we heard from Paul Martin, his agent, that he changed his mind. He wants to reconsider his position during the January window.
“He is currently injured so I think technically he will be with us because he is under contract for another year. It is a big surprise but that is football.
“I think it’s been a very busy transfer window. We’ve brought in a lot of new players. Especially in the attacking areas, the number ten position now as we have Klaasen, Sigurdsson, and Rooney. That is a position we have heavily strengthened.
The interview gave the impression to many that Moshiri is funding Everton rather than being actively involved in their transfer business to date (not a point of criticism at all). The problem though comes when an owner is poorly briefed and enters onto a national news outlet to represent their respective club and gives the whole footballing world the impression that you don’t know what you’re doing. In the case of Ross Barkley this is plainly the case, not only was a deal to sell him to Chelsea clearly bungled, but worse still the player will likely now leave for a nominal fee in January. This is one of England’s brightest young talents we are talking about here, so a complete own-goal for Everton on this one.
Everton needed a change from potential stagnation under the misty eyed Bill Kenwright and in new owner Farhad Moshiri they may well have achieved that. But with change comes risk, and those around their fledgling new arrival would do well to advise staying well clear of being front of house at such an early stage.
Mistakes made, but lessons hopefully learned. Is this the beginning of an exciting new era for Everton Football Club?