Everton boss Ronald Koeman may have the biggest transfer budget in the club’s history at his disposal, but that doesn’t mean he will completely abandon any sense of financial prudence.
The Toffees decision to pull out of a deal to sign Man City Joe Hart on loan proves the club will still try and seek value in the market despite their new found wealth.
The vast swathes of money sloshing around the Premier League has resulted in the inevitable sharp increase in both transfer fees and wages.
Even relatively unproven youngsters are costing clubs upwards of £10m, making hunting for bargains difficult.
Everton, thankfully, have a healthy amount of cash at their disposal to allow them to flex their muscles in the transfer market. But that doesn’t mean they will be irresponsible with their money.
Man City are demanding a fee of £7m to take Hart on loan which combined with the England goalkeeper’s £135,000 a week wages proved too much for Everton to consider.
Does that mean the deal is dead? Possibly, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it is a bargaining tactic either.
Hart clearly has no future at Man City and a season on the bench would also jeopardise his England place. Therefore a move before the end of the transfer deadline is crucial for his career.
Everton and Sevilla were the two reported destinations for the 29-year-old. But with Sevilla now pursuing a deal for Valencia’s Diego Alves, the Toffees became the front runners.
It would be the ideal move in both a footballing and practical sense for Hart, given he would not have to move from the north-west of England.
But all those factors have tipped the negotiating position in Everton’s favour. By pulling out of the deal they have put the onus on Hart to push for a transfer, which could result in a cheaper deal for the Toffees.
The performances of Maarten Stekelenberg have further strengthened Everton’s hand.
The Dutchman was signed as a back-up goalkeeper but his impressive performances against Tottenham and West Brom suggest he is capable of holding on to the no.1 shirt for at least a season. That would give Everton time to assess the availability of other options in 12 months time.
There is no doubt that Hart would be a wonderful acquisition for Everton and strengthen the team significantly. But I admire their willingness to step away from a deal if it isn’t right for the club.
The transfer market is very much a game of cat and mouse which increases in intensity as the deadline approaches and Everton are playing the game perfectly.
The future of Hart is likely to rumble on right until the deadline but I wouldn’t be surprised if he does end up making the switch to Goodison Park.
However, thanks to Everton’s hardline stance and unwillingness to blink first in negotiations, any deal is likely to be on much better terms than the offer currently on the table.