It’s the biggest story in English football at the moment as Newcastle United’s controversial takeover has finally got the green light. So, what will be the impact on Everton?
Inevitably, there have been a flurry of rumours about who the Magpies might now be signing and there were even speculation that perhaps Everton boss Rafa Benitez might return to Tyneside.
Addressing that possibility first, I think it’s possible but probably unlikely Benitez will be considered for the job by the Newcastle board as they weigh up their options to replace current incumbant Steve Bruce, if as expected they do just that.
With no disrespect to the Blues boss, I would imagine that they are going to look for a younger, more recently high-profile manager and other stories circulating are linking Newcastle with coaches like Paulo Fonseca and even Steven Gerrard.
And I also think that Benitez seems to have bought into the Everton project and the plans for moving forward with a new state-of-the-art stadium around the corner. Having said that we thought the same about Carlo Ancelotti for a while!
The challenge of proving sceptics wrong about the club bringing him in given his Liverpool past also motivates him. And of course he lives in and likes the Merseyside area where his family are very settled. Overall then, I think Benitez will stay at Goodison Park.
As far as new players go, well it’s an open question whether the Magpies are likely to spend a lot of cash as soon as they can in January when the transfer window opens again. Interestingly, Amanda Stavely the club’s new co-owner has been damping down expectations of huge spending straight away.
This was exactly what happened the last time a middle east state backed consortium took over an English club when Manchester City were bought in 2008.
City spent a huge amount with the biggest initial headline signing being that of Robinho at the end of the first window after the takeover had been completed.
And City went on to build a succession of Premier League winning sides and have become an established top four and Champions League contender.
Everton, surprise, surprise, haven’t managed to replicate that acheivement. And despite nearly £500 million being spent are no further forward in terms of their competitiveness or winning a trophy, than they were before Farhad Moshiri took over.
In some respects this is almost a given as it always seems to be the case that this club can find unqiue ways to mess things up! I say that as an Evertonian but it does seem that unlike every other club with a financial windfall, our club has uniquely messed up this opportunity.
Chelsea, City and of course our neighbours themselves have all made the most of their new wealth and it’s brought trophies and huge success for them all. The Blues have bucked that trend.
In some ways its a question of timing. Had the club been taken over five or even ten years earlier then things might have been different as soon after Moshiri took over, the football authorities introduced Financial Fair Play regulations.
These rules were alledgely designed to ensure clubs couldn’t ‘overspend’ and get into serious financial trouble. The feeling always remains though that these rules are really in place to stop upstart clubs like Everton breaking into the established top order of European football. It will be intersting to see how quickly or significantly these rules impact Newcastle’s plans.
Anyway, whatever the real reasons or motives were behind it, FFP has changed the landscape and several years of big spending have finally caught up with the Toffees.
While Moshiri is not a football man and has obviously either been poorly advised or unlucky or both, his decisions, especially over managers, have not exactly worked out!
Huge sums have been spent by Ronald Koeman, Sam Allardyce, Marco Silva and Ancelotti on a wide variety of players like Gylfi Sigurdsson, Yannick Bolasie, Davy Klassen, Theo Walcott, Cenk Tosun, Yerry Mina, Lucas Dine, Richarlison, Allan, Abdoulaye Doucoure, the list goes on and on.
Some of those have been hits (Richarlison, Digne, Doucoure) but too many have been big disappointments (Klassen, Bolaise, Walcott, Tosun, Gomes, Iwobi etc).
This summer for the first time since before Moshiri bought the club, Everton couldn’t splash the cash and in fact spent less in a transfer window than since the early days of David Moyes reign.
But that lack of spending has perhaps ironically been a good thing and with a very shrewd and knowlegedble coach in Benitez, the Blues signed two attacking players who have so far, been little short of a revelation: Andros Townsend and Demarai Gray.
I’m not saying that every such signing is going to be so successful, but perhaps if the days of big spending by Everton are over that might not be such a bad thing. It might force the club to take more care over their transfer business.
It’s certainly very possible that Newcastle with all their immense wealth are now going to be pursuing some of the same sort of players that the Toffees are often linked with.
Going forward it’s hard to see Everton being able to replicate the kind of heavy outlay on players that charaterised many past windows. That means some players may slip through their fingers.
So, this is going to mean the Blues may well have to continue to be clever and creative in the transfer market and while this may be frustrating at times, perhaps long-term it will be for the better in the end.