Everton have blown £ 530m on an underperforming team … it’s no wonder Farhad Moshiri is apologizing

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Everton owner Farhad Moshiri is like a man who has woken from the mother of all benders… and is now counting the cost of his excess.

After a miserable season, which saw the Toffees survive in the top flight by the skin of their teeth with one game to spare, Moshiri appears to have come to his senses.

And he wrote to supporters this week to apologize and admit to wasting a huge pile of cash.

Farhad Moshiri wrote a letter to Everton fans apologizing for their awful 2021-22 season

Farhad Moshiri wrote a letter to Everton fans apologizing for their awful 2021-22 season

‘Mistakes have been made,’ confessed the majority shareholder, in an unprecedented mea culpa. ‘We are committed to not making the same mistakes again, including how we have not always spent significant amounts of money wisely,’ he added solemnly.

His missive to fans is the corporate equivalent of facing the fear the morning after, and apologizing to everyone who was there; then realizing you spent alot more than you thought.

To be fair, Moshiri deserves credit for fronting up. But it is extraordinary that he and his colleagues have taken so long to wake up to this reality, not least because supporters have been shouting it from the rooftops for years.

Frank Lampard, appointed manager at the end of January, guided Everton to safety

Frank Lampard, appointed manager at the end of January, guided Everton to safety

Any club can make a mistake in the transfer market, but Everton have done so on an industrial scale for the best part of six years, since the British-Iranian took over in 2016.

In that time more than 30 530million has been spent on 31 players; 43 have arrived in total. And that astonishing level of investment has culminated in a scramble for 16th place.

While most clubs outside the top six look to pick up some younger players and add value, Everton have spent the best part of six years doing the opposite. They have splashed the cash like a big club, but apparently without the systems in place to reduce the risk and increase the chances of success.

The worst excesses have seen Everton shell out £ 176m on players, who have recouped just £ 15m in fees, most of them went on free transfers, or left at the end of their contract.

Thousands of Everton fans invaded the pitch after Premier League safety was confirmed

Thousands of Everton fans invaded the pitch after Premier League safety was confirmed

Others have hardly played, or in one case not at all, and there have been some eye-watering absence rates.

Exorbitant fees have been paid, as recently as January a player was brought in at three-times the market rate, according to analysts.

And the fate identity has changed like the colors of a chameleon from one manager to the next and depending on the imminent threat of relegation.

Managerial recruitment has been as chaotic as the player acquisition, with Sam Allardyce and Rafa Bentizez to biggest misjudgements. However, whoever has been in the managerial hotseat they have had money to spend.

Indeed, mistakes have been made…

Winger Yannick Bolasie was already 27 years old when he was signed from Crystal Palace in 2016 for £ 25m, around twice his market value, and he only made 29 Premier League appearances in five years, which included four loan spells.

Yannick Bolasie cost £ 25m from Crystal Palace back in 2016 and was loaned out three times

Yannick Bolasie cost £ 25m from Crystal Palace back in 2016 and was loaned out three times

Player

Yannick Bolasie

M. Schneiderlin

Ashley Williams

M. Stekelenburg

Gylfi Sigurdson

Davy Klaassen

Sandro

Cenk Tosun

Theo Walcott

Buy fee

£ 25m

£ 24m

£ 9m

£ 0.9m

£ 40m

£ 23.6m

£ 5.2m

£ 27.5m

£ 20m

Sell ​​fee

Free

£ 2m

Free

Free

Out of contract 2022

£ 13m

Free

Out of contract 2022

Free

Midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin cost £ 24M from Everton at the age of 28. He failed to convince in 88 top flight appearances over two-and-a-half years, with his final season petering out due to injury, when he made just 12 league starts before he went south – to Nice – for £ 2M.

Ashley Williams was 31 when he signed from Swansea for £ 9M, but it was an ill-fated move. He struggled to establish himself in the team or with the fans and later admitted he found it hard to settle, at least initially. Making sure a face fits is a key part of recruitment.

And the mistakes have kept on coming.

Davy Klaassen arrived at Goodison Park from Ajax for £ 23million as part of the 2017 intake, but had spectacularly little impact. The Holland midfielder made 16 appearances, during which he failed to score a goal and made only one assist in just 251 minutes of playing time.

Everton made a deal with Ligue 1 side Nice for midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin

Everton made a deal with Ligue 1 side Nice for midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin

His most noteworthy stats, however, were that he cost £ 5m per shot or £ 3.33m per start in England, and Everton took a £ 10M hit and sold him to Werder Bremen after one year.

But Klaassen had more impact than Henry Onyekuru, who joined from KAS Eupen for £ 6.8M, and never played a game.

Incredibly, Everton signed the left winger without a work permit, so loaned him immediately to Anderlecht in the hope he would impress and gain enough caps for Nigeria to allow him to eventually play for his parent club.

How did anyone think that was a good idea? Even so, the cunning plan almost paid off, but unfortunately Onyekuru suffered a serious knee injury in Belgium that derailed his Everton career.

One aspect of Everton’s transfer dealings that catches the eye over the Moshiri years, is the apparent absence of strategy. A factor he now acknowledges in his letter to supporters.

One signing that certainly did not work out was the 6 23.6million purchase of Davy Klaassen

Moise Kean cost £ 25million from Juventus but struggled to settle and left

Davy Klaassen (left) and Moise Kean (right) are two examples of failed Everton signings

‘During the 2021/22 season, the Board led a strategic review of our operations which included looking at working practices, our recruitment process and the whole structure of our footballing operation in order to clearly identify the causes of our under-delivery on the pitch , ‘said Moshiri stoically.

A strategic review is important, and will no doubt be helpful, but some things do not require a team of consultants to spot them.

Prior to 2017-18 season Ronald Koeman was given a war chest of £ 130M to spend on transfers, but he was gone before the end of October.

Koeman’s replacement was Sam Allardyce, who is good at what he does, but plays a completely different game to Koeman. It was hardly continuity. Not only that, the board then handed Allardyce his own £ 50M to recruit Cenk Tosun and Theo Walcott.

After banging them in for Besiktas in his homeland, Tosun commanded a £ 27million fee in the move to Everton. Two years later he was on the loan road out of Merseyside with his tail between his legs, a shadow of his former self but still with three-and-a-half years left on his £ 110,000-a-week deal.

Tosun’s contract is up at the end of this month and he will leave Goodison Park having made 61 appearances scoring 11 goals – at £ 2.5M a piece based on his original fee.

Cenk Tosun had a £ 110,000-a-week deal at Everton but took the loan road out of Merseyside

Cenk Tosun had a £ 110,000-a-week deal at Everton but took the loan road out of Merseyside

Walcott did better and initially impressed, but injuries ultimately hampered his progress.

Allardyce, of course, was gone in six months.

Marco Silva was meant to be long-term, but only survived 18 months, during which time he managed to spend an astonishing £ 190M in the market place. While the recruitment included Richarlison for £ 35M, there were more misses than hits and an extraordinary injury list among the recruits.

One wonders if the strategic review put that down to bad luck, or poor recruitment?

Three of those acquisitions, central defender Yerry Mina and midfielders Andre Gomes and Fabian Delph cost around £ 60M, but their Everton careers have been blighted.

They have made a contribution to Everton when fit, including during the relegation run in and battle for Premier League survival. But Delph has not made the squad on more than 60 occasions in the last three seasons, dogged by shoulder and calf injuries, Mina was absent for ove 20 matches this term often sidelined with a troublesome hamstring and Gomes for 17 games.

Everton's signing of Nathan Patterson has been picked out as above the going rate

Everton’s signing of Nathan Patterson has been picked out as above the going rate

Jean-Philippe Gbamin has also been dogged by injury. He has only managed eight matches for Everton since his 2019 arrival from Mainz for £ 22M, including six in the Premier League. Not surprisingly, Gbamin’s value has slumped to just £ 8M.

In his first two seasons, the Ivorian suffered an achilles rupture, hamstring and knee injuries, which ruled him out of all but three top flight matches. This term, he has failed to break into the team and was sent on loan to CSKA Moscow, just before Russia invaded Ukraine.

Meanwhile, center forward Moise Kean was considered an exciting prospect when he arrived from Juventus for £ 25M in the summer of 2019, but his first campaign was dismal, bringing just two goals in 29 top flight matches and he too, hit the loan trail, albeit it to the brighter lights of Paris and Turin.

Yerry Mina has made a contribution to Everton but he has struggled with injury

Yerry Mina has made a contribution to Everton but he has struggled with injury

Arguably, the (flimsy) constraints of financial fair play rules have forced Everton to extract more value in the transfer market in recent windows, Demerai Gray, who was bought for £ 1.7M from Bayer Leverkusen, being the prime example.

But the old problems in recruitment have still been evident. Data analysts the Twenty First Group concluded Everton paid almost three-times the market value for Nathan Patterson, who signed for the Toffees from Rangers for £ 12M in January.

The issues arounf recruitment that Moshiri alluded to in his statement are long-standing and far-reaching. They span a period in which eight managers were employed, but the heirarchy stayed the same. And more than half a billion pounds spent.

Everton have spent more than m 500million since Farhad Moshiri bought a majority stake

Everton have spent more than m 500million since Farhad Moshiri bought a majority stake

So, the owner was right to take responsibility and review his operations. Moshiri told fans: ‘Many of the learnings have already been implemented.’

But in truth there is no quick fix.

Undoubtedly, manager Frank Lampard and Everton’s new director of football, Kevin Thelwell, will be instrumental in delivering improvements, but they are not the problem.

What is needed to ensure long term progress is a change of culture and practice – perhaps outlook and expectation too – from top to bottom. In any organization that is often the hardest thing to achieve, maybe even harder than winning Premier League football matches.

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