New era of low spending could prove benificial for Everton

Everton (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)
Everton (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images) /

There is more media discussion today about what players Everton might try to sign and move on in the January transfer window.

Everton are facing continued financial restrictions though as FFP regulations continue to bite. But, might the new reality of low spending actually benefit the Blues?

Whatever else, no one can accuse Toffees’ owner Farhad Moshiri of not putting his money where his mouth was. When he took control of the club he pledged to spend big in an effort to replicate the success Chelsea and Manchester City had achieved when they were taken over by wealthy owners.

Well, he certainly did spend as close to £500 million has been outlayed on players while five managers have come and gone and yet as is obvious to everyone, that success hasn’t happened.

And in fact, in some ways, the Blues’ are further away from reaching the aims of Champions League football let alone seriously challenging for a trophy let alone the Premier League title, than they were a decade ago.

It’s typically Everton isn’t it that despite finally getting an owner with all the cash the fans had craved nervertheless resulted in a vast squandering of resources and has totally failed to deliver what it has done for those other clubs.

The combination of poor player assessment and the constant turnover in coaches and staff with all the upheaval in tactics and players that it leads to, has left the club with a bloated and disjointed squad filled with mediocre and underperforming footballers.

Last season after another summer of heavy spending and under the latest of those managers, Carlo Ancelotti, the Blues’ once more struggled and ultimately finished tenth.

Now, the club are caught in the FFP web and while we all know that were certain others to be in this position the rules would almost certainly not be applied so strictly, it’s likely the Toffees’ would be hit with big fines and maybe even points deductions if they were to break them.

So, where do Everton go from here?

This summer new manager Rafa Benitez could only spend £1.7 million a sum that was much more like the sort of fees the club paid in a transfer window twenty years ago.

Alongside Demarai Gray who has been superb, Benitez bought in four players on free transfers and while they have been of mixed value, two of them are reseve goalkeepers and certainly Andros Townsend has proved a real bargain.

In some ways this situation is similar to how things were when David Moyes was in charge and Everton were permantly hamstrung by lack of funds as they tried to compete with much wealtheir sides at the top of the league.

As a result Moyes had to spend very carefully and while inevitably he didn’t always get it right, overall his spending was pretty good and he signed some real bargains too.

Players like Tim Howard, Lee Carsley, Seamus Coleman, Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta all proved excellent additions and many cost about the same as Gray.

Alongside this careful husbanding of financial resources Moyes team’s developed a strong identity with his side’s renowed for being well-organised, resiliant and hard-working. While he takes plenty of credit for that and it’s similar to what he’s doing at West Ham, in some ways this was inevitable given that he had so little money to spend.

Obviously, that was a different transfer market than today’s and it will be more challenging to get players of the sort mentioned above for a few million quid, but having tried the big spending approach perhaps it would be best for Everton to go back to a much more careful strategy from now on.

If Benitez and Marcel Brands can continue finding quality bargains and develop a clear sense of how they want to play, maybe it will be possible to rediscover that combination of factors that enabled the Blues’ to punch above their weight for so long.

It doesn’t look as though the Toffees’ have that much choice anyway at the moment as purse strings will be tight for the next couple of transfer windows in all likelhood.

So, it’s big test of how well Brands and Benitez can find those bargain buys or astute loan deals starting with January. As the saying goes necessity is the mother of invention.