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Do Everton’s transfer dealings this summer make them a buying or selling club?

Net spend still very low for this window.

Everton v Norwich City - Premier League Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Everton currently have a net of spend -£5m this summer. That’s positively mad when you think about it. All the signings, all the hype, all the ‘Moshiri’s Millions’ and still the club has sold more than they’ve bought.

So, despite all the hoopla about how Everton is retaking its place amongst the biggest dogs in the English Premier League, there really is a serious question of whether this is just the ‘same old Everton’. A selling club who reinvests what they take in.

There are multiple multiple points that need addressing in regards to this speculation. First, is it fair given Everton’s recent transfer work? Second, do the facts of this window point to Everton merely reinvesting and not being interested in outlaying actual new investment?

To the first, in 2014/2015 Everton had a net spend of about £35m. Most of this was the initial Lukaku deal, but it was still a very serious outlay for talent. We also brought in Gareth Barry that summer, and though I’ve been critical of him of late, for a free he’s been a tremendous value.

Norwich City v Everton - Premier League Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images

The next year we had a £38m net spend. Though the willingness to spend was clearly there, the Blues spent like idiots (thanks Bobby). Niasse, Funes Mori, Deulofeu, Lennon, Tarashaj (if he’s a real person)...not a lot of bang for your buck, but still, not a team that’s just spending what they sell.

Last year Everton had a £25 million net spend. The big money buys were Bolasie and Schneiderlin, and I mark both of those as good decisions because no one could have predicted the former’s injury, and additionally, the club got great deals on Idrissa Gueye and Ashley Williams. It was a haul that made it easy to forget whoever it was that got sold to Manchester City.

So Everton aren’t the club with a £100m in net spend a summer, but frankly, their sponsorships don’t allow that under Financial Fair Play regulations. Given that, they’ve done very well spending within their means over that time, and actually have made some good decisions along the way.

That brings us to the second part of the narrative, regarding whether or not this summer is just spending the Lukaku money or whether it’s the dawning of a new day as a free spending club.

It should be noted that if Barcelona did not activate the buyback on Deulofeu, Everton would have a net positive spend for the summer. We should also note that the Toffees acquired Wayne Rooney, Sandro Ramirez, and Cuco Martina for a combined £5m.

If the club had paid what those players were actually worth, Everton would be at a net negative spend right now. So we can thank buyout clauses and good timing with Wayne for all of that.

Further, we should look at what kind of buys that Everton made. Paying £30m for a goalkeeper is not something you do when you’re just acting as a selling club reinvesting profits from a big payday. You don’t see Southampton doing that, for instance. Being the absolute epitome of a selling club, they buy low and sell as high as possible, like buying junker cars and fixing them up to resell.

The Pickford transfer is like stepping onto a car lot and buying the brand new model year pickup truck in cash. It’s not something you do when you aren’t on the big time. Spending that kind of money on a striker is just the modern world, spending it on a keeper is luxury. Similar remarks can be made about the Keane deal.

Finally, while the Sigurdsson transfer has dragged on forever, we know formal bids have been made. That’s at least £45m in further expenditure expected. Never mind the fact that we have been told to expect two other signings in addition to that.

Everton still has some dead weight to cut loose (looking at you, James McCarthy), so if they get the three signings that Ronald Koeman wants, and also get rid of the players that need to be gone, Farhad Moshiri will probably be looking at about £60m in net spend.

It’s not what United, City, and Chelsea are doing, but it’s in the ballpark of what Liverpool and Arsenal are trying to do. It’s certainly more than what Spurs can be bothered to get out of bed for.

Everton v Swansea City - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

With participation in Europe will come FFP scrutiny, so Everton’s expenditure has to make sense in relation to their revenue. That means the Toffees won’t spend like City and United for a while, and that’s fine. Under Koeman and Walsh, Everton are making smart buys, good value buys, and-when it fits-luxury buys. The club is absolutely moving in the right direction on the transfer front.