There has been a lot of talk this season about it being a period of transition, both on and off the pitch.
Off the pitch, naming rights for the training ground, the binding together of our loans into a single interest-free one by Moshiri, and the progress on the new stadium have all been positive. On the pitch, the rebuilding process has already started, with signings like Gana and Schneiderlin proving to be decent additions. A sprinkling of youth in Holgate and Davies have also given us a lift.
However, we have now come to an important stage in terms of kicking on, both on and off the pitch. Off the pitch, we need to come up with £30M to pay Peel Holdings for the site of our new stadium. We will probably need to also have a deposit in place prior to gaining any loan approval for the £300M needed to pay for the stadium. On the pitch, we need a couple of quality centre-halves, at least one creative midfielder, and at least one quality striker, maybe two, if Lukaku leaves in the summer. Easily £100M plus.
At present, even with Moshiri's money and contacts, Everton do not have the finances to adequately cover a stadium and a squad. Player sales and TV money in the summer may look easy on the eye right now. But take payments in instalments, tax, agents' fees, day-to-day running costs for the season ahead into account, and the huge sums of cash suddenly shrink.
So what should the club do? Sink the cash in hand into the stadium, guarantee its progress, and keep debt to a minimum? Doesn't give you much chance to buy top class players. Spend big in the transfer market and hope to somehow make up the cash for the stadium while waiting for planning permission? A big ask given our resources and revenue streams. Split the pot of money evenly and see what we can squeeze out of it? This could mean doing neither properly.
It's genuinely hard to say. Don't spend the money on the squad, we fall further behind the six teams above us in the table. Don't make proper progress on the stadium, it's groundhog day all over again and another golden opportunity lost.
My gut is telling me that the club will put the stadium first. I can see us pinning our hopes on Koeman staying a full three seasons and hoping that none of the teams below us overtake us for 7th place. We will probably spend big on one, maybe two players in the summer, and hope to hang on to Barkley. Cut-price deals for players like Luke Shaw, who has fallen out of favour at Man Utd according to reports today, will be the norm, and promoting youngsters, at the right pace or not, will continue.
Interesting times ahead.
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