News reports this morning claim that 777 Partners are very near to agreeing a takeover deal to purchase Everton from Farhad Moshiri.
According to sources including the Daily Mail, the US-based consortium are willing to pay around £600 million for the club with the deal expected to be completed possibly as early as next week.
This is a sudden speeding up of developments regarding investment or a potential takeover of Everton, although obviously both 777 Partners and MSP have been rumoured to be interested in doing so for a number of months now.
The Blues owner has been searching for investment from outside sources for a while now to help restore a degree of financial stability and finish funding the new ground at Bramley Moore Dock.
There has been an added urgency to this ever since Alisher Usminov was forced to sever his links to Moshiri and the club last year after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
He had long-standing links to Moshiri and had also been said to be prepared to buy naming rights to the new Stadium.
There were rumours of a possible takeover last summer with another US group supposedly interested in either investment or taking control of the club.
Despite alledged talks etc, nothing came of this so it’s probably as well to take a similarly sceptical view of the chances of this story being totally accurate particularly as something similar has been heard before.
If it is now true though this time, what could that mean for Everton?
First of all the club has to survive and stay in the Premier League as it seems highly unlikely this 777 consortium or any other would consider buying the club if they were relegated.
Having said that, they might get a club at a cut-price which with a little sound management and investment in the team could bounce straight back up as others have done so before, like Burnley this season, and with a brand new state-of-the-art ground to boot.
A further complication is the current investigation into the Toffees finances being conducted after the Premier League referred the Blues to an independent commission.
If found guilty of breaches, Everton could face a range of punishments from a straghtforward fine to a transfer ban or points deduction, possibly a combination of all of these.
However, despite the efforts of other Premier League clubs to get this process speeded up, it looks as though we might not get a verdict for perhaps a year or longer.
That would, if correct, make it a much more managable issue for any new owner of the club.
777 Partners are a group that has a very wide range of investments including a number of other football clubs in Europe and Brazil. They also have a major stake in British Basketball so there is obviously a strong sports aspect to their holdings.
They also make it clear they are not just investors who then take a back seat and that is why a full takeover from them seems more likely.
In the best case scenario of course, Everton avoid the drop and survive for another year at least in the English top flight and as suggested, the commission doesn’t report for at least a year.
If that happens and new owners, whether it is 777 or MSP – who are apparently still in the running – would then have a huge rebuilding job on their hands.
First of would come a clearing out of the board with presumably all or most of the current key figures all departing. I don’t think many Evertonians would be too unhappy about that!
The next question is what would happen to other Moshiri appointments such as Director of Football Kevin Thelwell and manager Sean Dyche?
I have to admit I’m not sure what real value Thelwell is giving the Blues. He has been in post for a while now and it’s hard to see what tangible benefit he has delivered.
There have obviously been signings made during his time such as last summer’s additions, which have proved to be a mixed bag.
But, he failed to bring in more than one forward in the summer (Neal Maupay who has been a total flop) when the most pressing need was for offensive reinforcements.
And he couldn’t either in the January window when Everton endured a farcical last few days and hours trying desperately to bring in forwards.
As for Dyche he has made a difference to this team and while some of his player selections (especailly in defence) and tactics have been questionable, generally the Toffees have been more competitive since he replaced Frank Lampard.
Whethre though new owners might want a new manager we would have to see.
Anyway, all this is purely speculation and until a firm bid has been officially lodged and a sale has gone through, none of this is going to happen.