Yes, Everton fans, Farhad Moshiri is real.
No, he is not a figment of your imagination.
It’s a sentence that has been running over and over in my head the past six weeks.
Sure, Moshiri has already helped secure the long term future of the club by paying off a reported £150 million of debt himself, purchasing the Liver building, securing a substantial loan to ensure continued healthy capital for player investment, refurbishing Goodison Park, and securing the rights to an area to build a stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock.
These are all INCREDIBLY important elements of building and sustaining a squad that can compete (AND WIN!!!) trophies year in and year out, both domestically and in Europe.
Without these things, the future of Everton would be as unclear as it has been for the better part of two decades. The stadium and removal of debt, in particular, cannot be understated as they free up the club to pursue the things that will move it forward, not just keep the Toffees in the top half of the table.
The day dreaming about opening a new stadium on the docks can sustain any fan for the next few years as steps are presumably taken to make the new Everton home a reality.
I don’t know about you, I don’t root for Everton because they'll have the coolest stadium or the most balanced budget.
No, my interest in the commercial-loan processes in Liverpool, England are not born from a love of real estate, but rather because I love the team that puts eleven players on the pitch.
So when Everton fans were promised that things were going to be different on the pitch for Everton, that implicitly meant that transfer windows were going to be different, and the Toffees would be accumulating talent along with the other top teams in England.
Last summer gave us a taste of both Steve Walsh’s budget shopping (Idrissa Gana Gueye) and Moshiri’s willingness to spend (£30 million for Yannick Bolasie), while the winter window continued to whet the appetite, as Everton signed TALENTED players, both youth (Ademola Lookman) and established vets (Morgan Schneiderlin), with Moshiri again showing financial strength in snatching up Schneiderlin for over £20 million bucks without batting an eye.
Everton fans were excited at the tastes they were getting, but (not so) secretly wondered if Moshiri would bring on a wave of new signings or let the drip drop of talent into the club continue.
As the season went on, it was evident that Steve Walsh and Ronald Koeman (both of whom joined relatively late in the 2016 summer, explaining the understandably slow start to the signings in the Moshiri era) had been putting all of their focus on the 2017 Summer window.
The pair would have had the year to identify, scout, and ultimately select, the players they believed would take Everton to the next level.
Both men have a proven track record in identifying talent (which got them their jobs) so most fans were not worried so much about bringing in players that wouldn’t help, but rather concerned the ownership not ponying up the money it had ‘promised’ in an effort to reach their own lofty goals.
So when the transfer season kicked off with this little nugget, you would excuse Everton fans for panicking:
Report on Merseyside Everton had an offer £8m bid for Pickford rejected by #safc. First I've heard of it. More of an insult than a bid— James Hunter (@JHunterChron) May 31, 2017
It would not be an overstatement to say my heart sank when this news started to make its way around twitter.
I was incredibly bitter about the challenging times the club was having attempting to be truly ambitious.
I also know that I am not not alone in that incredibly specific sentiment either.
Someone on /r/soccer made an algorithm that tracks the 3 most popular words associated with each team on there. Results are humorous. pic.twitter.com/tahwJochKJ— Adam Partington (@PartAdam) July 10, 2017
Anyways....as I tried to come to grips with the reality of the foreseeable future and scribbled down designs for a 7th place trophy, it all suddenly changed two weeks later:
Then, ON THE SAME FRIGGIN’ DAY:
In a matter of hours, Everton had COMPLETELY blown the doors off of their standard operating procedures.
Low bids? Drawn out negotiations? Losing out on players due to pocket change haggling?
Those days are a thing of the past!
Instead, we are now the club who drops a cool £57 million in ONE DAY!
IN ONE DAY!!
(Side note: if you don’t watch John C. Reilly on Check It Out with Dr. Steve Bruhle on Comedy Central you are missing out. It’s weird, it’s inappropriate, it’s John C. Reilly at 12:15 on cable. You are welcome.)
Everton had just procured the services of the best young English keeper in the Premier League and the captain of the Europa League runners up, and it wasn’t even July!!
So when the momentum didn’t stop and Everton kept signing player after player, Everton fans found themselves facing the realization that their dreams were ACTUALLY coming true:
Top-scorer in the Belgian league who has a verbal agreement to join PSG? No sweat, we will send Farhad to lock it up:
Facing worldwide competition for a 22 year old who was the 3rd leading non-Barcelona/Madrid scorer in La Liga last year? Check.
England’s #1 centerback being heavily sought after by multiple Champions League clubs? Done.
Convince a club legend and the Premier League’s all-time leading scorer to halve his wages and come in to battle for a spot, ON A FREE(ish)? Why not.
If you were anything like me, you probably woke up a number of days over the past few weeks wondering if you had somehow been transported to an alternate universe.
You even started waking up with the EXPECTATION that good things might happen.
Who will we sign today? Who will we be linked with? Will Ross get a haircut?
Arguments over whether Giroud or Dzeko would be a good fit have moved from the world of hypotheticals into reality, and the entire world is taking notice.
Farhad Moshiri has now followed through on all of his promises, with plenty more to come.
Not only is the clubs long-term solvency secured, and financial growth nearly ensured, but the team that takes the pitch in a few weeks will finally reflect the ambitions of the club, and THAT is something to be excited about!
So without further ado.... let’s get to your questions!
Giroud, Benteke, Dzeko...who's in the Everton lineup by the end of the transfer window? Or is it none of these?— Texan Evertonian (@TexanEvertonian) July 11, 2017
There may be no bigger question floating around Toffees fans heads than who is going to replace Lukaku, at least in terms of physicality?
As it currently stands, if I had to rank those the three strikers by likelihood of joining Everton I would go with:
Why? Well, yesterday I wrote this article
So at this point, I would be shocked to see the Frenchman join up in this window.
That’s not to say that he couldn’t fall out in the near future and join up in late August or possibly January, but I don’t see it happening if it doesn’t happen soon.
Wenger seemed pretty assured of himself and may just start screwing players over because he’s old and isn’t in the Champions League.
Dzeko is a bit of a reach in that he scored over 30 goals and won the Golden Boot last season in Serie A....seriously...he did.
He is 31 and AS Roma could decide he will never be more valuable and sell him for top dollar, but finding that lethal of a striker is not easy and I don’t see Roma letting Dzeko leave, especially without already having a top-level replacement ready.
That leaves Benteke, and the obvious questions that follow, from his underwhelming history as a Red to this:
Why would any team pursue Benteke at this point? Outside of the "big striker" rationale.His work ethic/attitude not enough to scare suitors?— Kevin Foley (@t_bonefoley) July 11, 2017
When Benteke’s name first appeared on the Everton radar, the response was not one that you would call overwhelmingly positive.
Viewed as a bit of a heavy-footed, header-dependent striker, Toffees fans didn’t like the thought of Benteke in Blue.
It’s quite evident that unless he joins on a free, signing the big Belgian isn’t worth it to many fans.
Now, I can certainly respect the opinion of Everton fans, many of whom spend inappropriate amounts of time watching and analyzing Everton, and Premier League, games.
I mean I have my own opinion on Benteke.
While I recognize his in-the-box finishing ability, he’s not necessarily deft, only plays well when he wants to, and isn’t dynamic.
I also, however, recognize that I know little to nothing compared to Ronald Koeman and Steve Walsh, and if they think the big Belgian can help our side, I am willing to defer to them in the present.
So what DO they possibly see in Benteke?
Well, simply put, when he WANTS to play, he scores.
In the final 10 matches of last season, Benteke scored 6 goals and had one assist as he helped Palace avoid relegation.
Those goals didn’t come against nobodies either.
The Belgian striker scored a goal and had an assist in a 2-1 win over the eventual champions Chelsea, then got revenge on his former club when he bagged a brace in a 2-1 win, including the 88’ dagger to the Reds heart.
To put the cherry on top, Benteke then celebrated with on-loan Red Mamadou Sakho!
So while I can certainly understand Toffees supporters reservations about adding Benteke, I will offer that we should trust Koeman and Walsh and if he is brought in know it is to a perform a job they are 100% sure he is capable of doing.
Oh...and for what it’s worth....I still hope we sign Giroud.
Pineapple on pizza or nah?— Andrew Whipple (@ItsWhipple) July 11, 2017
The debate between whether or not to put pineapple on pizza has raged on for millenia....
You most often find this tropical fruit included on America’s favorite meal paired with ham to create the well known and apparently equally as despised, ‘Hawaiian’ pizza.
While the pizza is not new, being able to use Twitter to get into inane arguments to kill time in between sleeping is.
So, toss in some derogatory comments from a British cook and VOILA! the debate reaches the top of social importance.
Now, the current debate has been driven largely by the world’s loudest hemorrhoid Gordon Ramsey, who is ADAMANT that pineapple should NEVER go on pizza.
So I brought him in to have a quick chat on the topic and share with him my stance.
Hey, Gordon, calm down, just trying to catch everyone up.
Because the reader asked my opinion on the pineapple on pizza thing....
Well, personally, I think that it is ok.
Yeah....I mean we put olives, jalapenos, ANY meat, veggies of every variety, and countless other things on top of pizza, why not pineapple?
What do you think of it?
While I do agree you need to spend some time on your hair, what are your feelings on the pizza??
No...I’m not going to give you my jacket because we disagree about pineapple on pizza.
Now? NOW you are getting mad? You need to chill out, it’s ok to have different tastes in food, and to be honest your continued arrogance on the topic is a bit annoying.
Considering all I did was tell you I like pineapple on my pizza I think you may be being a bit dramatic, which isn’t totally out of character for you.
Exactly! See, now you’re yelling so loud you left the realm of audible sound. My dog is barking, but I can’t hear you.
If you can calm down I will let you ask a question before we have to go.
That’s not a question Gordon...just an insult...anything else from the guy who looks like a Backstreet Boy reject with daddy issues who fell in love with an easy bake oven?
Didn’t think so.
Thanks for joining us Gordon...and remember people.... you’re not cheating on regular pizza.
What's it going to take for Everton to get their jerseys and more gear to be sold on the Fanatics site?— Nick Rogers (@ricknogers) July 11, 2017
With the release of their away kits on Monday, Everton fans now know how their side will look most matches (3rd kit still to come) this season.
However, as Everton fans are well aware, acquiring Everton kits are not as simple as driving up the road, no matter WHERE you live in the world.
This is the type of small-club mentality that Toffees fans are hoping will change as Moshiri’s footprint grows larger across the club.
From getting Finch Farm sponsored by USM, to a HUGE bump in revenue through our shirt sponsor, every opportunity to expand the Everton brand has been taken.
Except kit sales.
For details, I am going to point you to this article, which explains some of the battles to be won in order to make Everton kits more easily accessible
The topic actually took off on the Royal Blue Mersey twitter feed (@rbmersey), and I would suggest you head there to see what people are saying.
With the addition of Wayne Rooney will bring increased domestic and international attention to the club, opportunities which must be taken advantage of. If you want to learn even more, and are a listener, there is a recent podcast that covers the implications of signing the Premier Leagues all-time leading-scorer.
The improvement on the field will go a long way towards helping Everton become a bigger player in the global market but without the required changes in their approach to business it will all be for naught.
However, with the current management team in place, I don’t see them allowing the Toffees to mire in international obscurity much longer, and I think you’ll find kits much easier to come by in the near future.
THAT’S IT FOR PART 1 OF THIS WEEK’S MAILBAG! COME BACK TOMORROW FOR PART 2!