Everton FC: 5 Ways the Toffees Can Raise Enough Money for New Players
January saw David Moyes actively dabble in a transfer market for the first time since 2009, as the Scot carefully tweaked and replenished his ailing squad thanks to a bit of old fashioned wheeling and dealing.
Out went Diniyar Bilyaletdinov and Louis Saha, and in came a cut-price Darron Gibson and Nikica Jelavic, with a double loan swoop of Steven Pienaar and Landon Donovan further boosting the squad.
This flurry of transactions was scarcely detrimental to the club's bank balance, as the removed wages and fees taken from Saha and Bilyaletdinov balanced out the overall process.
As most football fans know, Everton are a club in grave need of investment. Without any, the only way new players can be brought in is by selling first. Big money transfer rumours linked to the Toffees can generally be disregarded as pointless, lazy journalism.
Even if money comes in, a hefty chunk would still be needed to help stall the club's spiralling debts, as seemed to be the case with most of the £10 million made from Mikel Arteta's move to Arsenal.
Before January, Moyes had been keen to stubbornly resist all offers for any of his core players through a number of transfer windows, realising it would leave him barely able to strengthen his playing staff.
However, the momentum January's manoeuvring installed into the dressing room, coupled with the excitement it gave supporters, has almost certainly altered Moyes' philosophy for this summer ahead.
He will now surely bring players in. Everton hit the jackpot with the purchase of Jelavic, and with a few extra bodies around him—a support striker and a couple of wingers—many would fancy the Toffees to continue on with their excellent post January from.
Of course, this also means players have to go.
Where Moyes will really earn his money is choosing the right individuals to cast off, without permanently unbalancing his squad. He would have to be sure he could recruit the right players to make any sale transparently understandable to fans, and with new additions, replicate the kind of atmosphere permeating the club since his transfer success in January.
Here are five scenarios Moyes will perhaps be weighing up about how to best negotiate this delicate task. Each with perks, but each also comes with some very obvious drawbacks.
Sell Leighton Baines
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Potential Value: £20-25 million
Is Everton's premier creative asset the man to be off-loaded this summer?
Positives: Obviously the biggest amount of net profit the Toffees could recoup this summer would be if they offloaded Baines, who cost Moyes around £6 million back in 2007.
At 27, this would probably be the last season Everton could command peak value from their left-back, therefore selling is something any business model would surely advise, given the Toffees' weak financial foundations.
Negatives: Where to start! Baines has been the most consistent performer over the past three seasons at Goodison Park, pivotal to the Toffees' game plan.
The architect behind so much of his side's creative industry, Baines tirelessly bombs forward, supplying some of the Premier League's most accurate delivery—he created more chances this season than any other defender in the league.
Equally accomplished at the back as part of the league's third best defensive unit, few top flight wingers ever get the better of him.
Finishing the season in the PFA Team of the Year, voted the league's best left-back by his peers, truly depicts how high his stock currently is. He would be sorely missed at Everton, should he go.
Sell Marouane Fellaini
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Potential Value: £20-25 million
Positives: As with Baines, should Fellaini go, Moyes would receive a bumper cheque to address and enhance his squad in several areas.
With Darron Gibson and Jack Rodwell, and a couple of others capable fulfilling Fellaini's role, the entire cheque could be used wherever Moyes fancied, as Everton are perhaps best stocked in central midfield.
Negatives: At 24, there is no pressing need to sell him yet. Most Evertonians will accept Fellaini has the calibre to be playing for a top Champions League club, and is likely to move on at some point in the next few years, but it does not have to be now.
With a freshly inked contract, Everton could afford to keep him another couple of seasons, get elite production and potentially only see his value increase still further as he continues to blossom.
This season he has further established himself as a top midfielder, and an elite tackler, with only compatriot Moussa Dembele winning more tackles in the Premier League this season. He also won the ball 190 times in midfield (26 more times than his nearest challenger, Alex Song) and his overall influence at the heart of Everton's midfield would be irreplaceable should he go.
His versatility is also a major plus in Everton's small squad. He made a huge impact playing as a second striker behind Nikica Jelavic later in the season and is a dominant force wherever he appears on the pitch.
Such a key player for David Moyes, selling him now could cause the most adverse reaction from both fans and teammates alike.
Sell Phil Jagielka (or Johnny Heitinga)
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Potential Value: £10 million
In an area where Everton have depth, if interest comes in, should Moyes consider letting one of these core players depart?
Positives: By keeping one of Heitinga or Jagielka to be paired with Sylvain Distin, and letting the other go, there would be limited disruption to the starting line-up.
Both international defenders, they should fetch a figure approaching eight figures, considering Everton are rumoured to have turned down a similar bid for Jagielka from Arsenal 12 months ago and Heitinga has just been crowned the club's Player of the Year.
Shane Duffy emerged last season showing enough potential to earn him a senior call-up to the Irish squad, so this may well seem one of the more attractive and coherent moves to fans.
Negatives: There are not as many obvious drawbacks, though Everton would need to use some of the income to find another young defender, as Distin is unlikely to play too many more seasons.
With a far smaller sum likely to be generated, perhaps only enough for one or two players, this ploy is only worthwhile if the fee is guaranteed to bring in quality, that has its own sell-on price. Spending this on supposed targets such as Steven Pienaar or Landon Donovan would make little business sense, with both players in the thirties and unlikely to be sold on.
Both Jagielka and Heitinga have proven themselves influential leaders at the club, on and off the field, and their presence and personalities would be sorely missed in the dressing room and throughout the spine of the club.
Sell Jack Rodwell
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Potential Value: £8-10 million
Is it time to listen to offers for Everton's injury-plagued midfielder, yet to reach his much-hyped potential?
Positives: Another more logical football move, as Rodwell has seemingly become hamstrung by his inability to maintain full fitness for a run of games.
Despite a promising start to last season, climaxing in a first England cap in November, he then failed to regain full fitness over the rest of the season and Everton have become used to playing without him.
That England cap, and the fact he is (amazingly) still only 21, should keep his value fairly inflated. Darron Gibson's impact means it is unlikely an entirely fit Rodwell would even make the first team, meaning any departure would cause minimal disruption.
Negatives: A few seasons ago, when still a teenager, Rodwell was being linked with the game's elite clubs for fees around the £20 million mark. Injuries and inconsistent form have seen him make just 25 starts over the past 24 months, and his value has been continually plummeting.
Everton would be lucky to see a bid of half that size come in now. His patchy record makes it unlikely a club would gamble a fee on him that would make it financially worthwhile to the Toffees, given what they have already invested in his development.
Still 21, should he overcome these constant niggles and begin to establish himself, his value would instantly soar. Moyes would be roundly chastised should he let a player once hyped as England's next great hope go when his stock was at its lowest—especially if he then quickly begins flourishing into a special player elsewhere.
Sell as Many Fringe Players as Possible
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Potential Value: £5-10 million
The heading that will clearly be the most aesthetically pleasing for Evertonians, but is there is enough product to raise funds to match David Moyes' ambitions?
Positives: Clearly something David Moyes will be investigating is whether he can extract enough value from players such as Jan Mucha and Joseph Yobo, that are far from the starting lineup.
Should enquiries begin to come in for sporadic starters such as Magaye Gueye, Victor Anichebe or even Seamus Coleman, then perhaps this is a scheme Moyes will toy with.
After a disappointing campaign, Tim Cahill was also linked with a move to Saudi Arabia. Together this could leave Moyes a tidy sum and a rapidly reduced wage bill—though losing the charismatic Australian could also have a hugely negative affect on fans and players.
Negatives: There is real danger that focusing on a fire-sale of fringe players could leave Everton's already slimline squad looking dangerously gaunt, and this is a very short-sighted, short-term fix.
The very fact that the Toffees' playing roster is so thin leaves few viable candidates. Away from Yobo and Mucha, who would surely only be able to grant Moyes a maximum of £3 million, losing other players could prove a risky strategy.
Victor Anichebe is an academy product, heavily invested in by the club, and Coleman and Gueye are both still young and having shown glimpses of class and potential—Coleman in particular—could easily flourish into quality players with far greater value.
Which Makes Most Sense?
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Each one of these possibilities will surely be considered by Moyes, who will be desperate to see his squad start next season with greater overall strength.
In truth, given the direction football's financial landscape seems to be heading, with the rich getting richer whilst the majority scrounge around, Everton may not have such a say in who goes out.
If only one player attracts major interest, he may have to be the one to go, as fewer clubs find themselves able to throw huge sums around.
Baines and Fellaini are the two obvious contenders to attract major interest and it is hard to predict who would cause the greater loss—with the only thing certain being how drastically it would deflate the team.
In terms of pure business, losing Baines makes more sense at peak value, but he is clearly settled on Merseyside and, should a bid come in, he is unlikely to rock the boat the way Lescott did a few years ago. A huge attribute in a modern day player.
Having occasionally given an indication, or even a reminder that he would be keen to pursue a move should a big club come in, Fellaini may perhaps not be quite so compromising in this situation.
One scenario that is unacceptable is for Everton to begin the season with neither player.
If Baines is sold, and then a late bid comes in for Fellaini, who quickly becomes unsettled and vocally keen to move on, Moyes and Everton would start the season in serious trouble.
Personally, given a choice, a combination of Rodwell and some fringe players, or one of Jagielka or Heitinga does not have to directly affect the first team as much, and therefore makes far more football sense. If one of the two centre-backs goes on to shine at Euro 2012, for me, Moyes must capitalise on this.
Perhaps it would not fit in with strict business values, and given their financial predicament, this may be something Everton have been guilty of ignoring before, yet Baines and Fellaini are simply irreplaceable in this team. Losing them must be entirely last resort, and only done if some quality individuals are drafted in to soothe the loss.
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