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Everton’s January transfer window links raise budget questions

Where’s the money coming from for some of the players we’re rumoured to be interested in

AC Milan v Bologna FC - Serie A Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

After already buying Cenk Tosun for a not insignificant amount of money, the pursuit of £40m rated Andre Silva from AC Milan is puzzling to say the least. It’s puzzling from a tactical perspective, as has been covered here at RBM, but also from a financial perspective.

As we continue to move fully into the Farhad Moshiri era at Everton, we really don’t know how much money the club will be willing to net spend in the transfer market. This past summer, we saw a lot of money spent, but so much money came in from the Lukaku scale that on a net basis everything is skewed. Here’s how the comings and goings look for 2017-2018 per Transfermarkt:

For the 2017-2018 season, we’re at a £51m net spend. Going back to 2014-2015, that’s about a £25m increase in net spending, give or take depending on the year you are looking at. That’s a significant increase. However, when you look at a player like Silva, the prospect of buying him would drive that increase to £65m just in difference of net spend from the past.

That’s a huge leap, the kind of leap that would put our net spending in a similar stratosphere as Arsenal (we already out net spend Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur) and to make that kind of a luxury spend at a time when the club has serious defensive needs would indicate the spending going up even higher.

If, however, we aren’t really intending to try to buy Andre Silva, and instead are trying to buy just the defenders we need and maybe an extra piece or two here or there, we’re on much more reasonable ground.

Let’s assume for the sake of discussion that Everton sold the following players and got their values:

  • Muhamed Besic £4.5m
  • James McCarthy £10m
  • Davy Klaassen £16m
  • Sandro Ramirez £9m
  • Oumar Niasse £7m

Okay, I understand that some of those are a little high, and that’s fine, we’re just using them as a third party placeholder for discussion. That’s about £45+m in transfer value that could be sold off the team without hurting the onfield product in any significant way. That £45m is one Andre Silva plus one young player, or it’s multiple defenders and probably a new midfielder.

All of that would keep the net spend where it currently sits, which is reasonable and doesn’t endanger us with Financial Fair Play rules (which apply since we’ve qualified for European Competition) in any way. Until Moshiri shows the willingness to spend way more than where we currently sit, we need to forget about players like Andre Silva at least until the summer. Even if he does show that willingness, we’ll have to dot our i’s and cross our t’s to make sure we stay on the right side of the preposterous ‘fair play’ rules UEFA has.

Sam Allardyce acknowledges this too, and is only expecting to add a couple more players to the squad in January, while saying more need to leave. Speaking to the Liverpool Echo -

“There would have to be some exits, I don’t think there is any doubt about that because we’ve got about 30 players. Some of them are a lot of young talent that has developed and needs developing and maybe we might choose to let that development happen somewhere else on loan until the end of the season.

“But certainly, at the moment, we need to move a few players to bring maybe one or two in. I don’t think we need to think about anymore than that – maybe three – that would really good business.

“Whether we’ve got the capabilities to do that, time will tell as the window moves on but this one certainly was the most important and hopefully he will be a success immediately.”

Bottom line is this: We aren’t the Manchester clubs in revenue so we likely aren’t going to be the Manchester clubs in expenditure. Otherwise, our net spending is about as good as anyone’s, but because this net spending didn’t start until 2014-2015 we have a lot of catch up to do in terms of depth and squad infrastructure. All things considered, a move for Andre Silva doesn’t make any financial sense for the club right now given the other needs on the field and likely limitations off of it.

If we get a defender or two this winter, sell the players I mentioned above (or made sales of similar value) and wait until this summer, we can find ourselves making one luxury buy this summer of £30-40m and still keep our overall expenditure on the gradual increase we’ve seen over the last few years by adding 3-4 players in the window.

My expectation for 2018 squad movement:

  • Sales similar to those listed above.
  • One ‘luxury player’ of Silva quality or similar in the summer.
  • 4-5 squad additions of similar cost to the sales above (between this January and next summer), including 1-2 regular starters.
  • Continued development of our strong core of young players.

Overall, it’s a good way forward for Everton Football Club, but it doesn’t involve doing anything rash this transfer window like chasing a striker in Serie A who isn’t even having all that good a season anyway.