It was the news Evertonians had craved for years. Finally, the intangible seemed within reach.
Because after years of prudence under Bill Kenwright, at long last, the Blues had real financial muscle behind them in Iranian businessman Farhad Moshiri.
The 49.9% stake bought by Moshiri in February 2016 signalled a new era for the Toffees. Here was the man whose bank balance could spearhead a genuine assault on the Premier League, leaving the days of simply treading water under David Moyes and Kenwright a distant memory.
And while Moshiri, who increased his stake to 68.6% in September, has certainly delivered on his promise to invest, he and Everton are yet to reap the rewards on the pitch, having presided over the sackings of three managers in as many years at the club.
Ahead of his three-year anniversary of joining the club later this month, we rate each of the men brought through the Goodison Park door on Moshiri’s watch:
Ronald Koeman was appointed as manager to replace Roberto Martinez, whose services Moshiri dispensed with in May 2016. In total, eight first team players were brought in, to the cost of roughly £70 million.
Maarten Stekelenburg - signed from Fulham for a reported £850,000 in July 2016. Moshiri’s first recruit, the Dutch keeper played as many games in goal as fellow stopper Joel Robles during his first season on Merseyside. In fairness, Stekelenburg was often superb in the early months of his Blues career, with a draw at Manchester City in which he saved two penalties the pinnacle.
But since Jordan Pickford arrived the following summer, Stekelenburg, 36, has never looked close to dethroning England’s number one as Everton’s first choice, and has made just five Toffees appearances, most of which were unconvincing, since the start of 2017/18. 5/10
Idrissa Gueye - signed from Aston Villa for £7.1 million in August 2016. Gueye has been Everton’s best signing of the Moshiri days, providing much-needed bite and energy in a defensive midfield role for the Blues. His distribution may be questionable, but his tenacity, and importance to the Toffees, is incontrovertible.
Everton often look a soft touch in midfield without the Senegalese, no more so than when missed the 6-2 drubbing against Tottenham Hotspur before Christmas through injury. That a genuine Champions League contender in Paris Saint-Germain were relentless in their pursuit of Gueye during the January transfer window is indicative of just how fantastic a player he is. 9/10
Ashley Williams - signed from Swansea City for a reported £12 million in August 2016. On the back of captaining Wales to the Euro 2016 semi-finals, hopes were high for Williams at Everton, having established himself as one the league’s better central defenders during his time at the Swans.
His first season was solid if unspectacular, but he endured a dreadful second campaign, often looking sluggish and off the pace, while two red cards certainly suggested an attitude problem. Having been exiled by then-manager Sam Allardyce at the end of last term, Williams was almost immediately loaned to Championship side Stoke City by new boss Marco Silva. There is no way back at Goodison for the 34-year-old. 4/10
Yannick Bolasie - signed from Crystal Palace for a reported £25 million in August 2016. Another signing synonymous with the ill-fated reign of former director of football Steve Walsh, Bolasie just has not delivered at Everton.
There is, of course, the caveat of the horrendous anterior cruciate ligament injury he suffered four months into his Goodison career, which sidelined him for a year. Still, though, two goals in 32 Blues appearances is a meagre return for a man whose transfer fee had only been eclipsed by Romelu Lukaku at the time of signing. Another now on loan (Anderlecht) who has no future with the Toffees. 3/10
Dominic Calvert-Lewin - signed from Sheffield United for a reported £1.5 million in August 2016. Though still clearly raw, and perhaps overused by Koeman, Allardyce and Silva, there is definite promise about Calvert-Lewin, 21, who has looked far better-suited to playing up front than out wide or, bizarrely once under Koeman, at wing-back.
His finishing is, at times, erratic, and he can play right into defenders’ hands in some games, but Calvert-Lewin is a grafter whose technical ability will only improve with age. 6/10
Enner Valencia - signed on a season-long loan from West Ham United in August 2016. Just three goals in 23 games for a striker suggests Valencia was a poor recruit, but he often proved a welcome plan B when the Toffees toiled.
Had the Hammers not demanded £14.5 million for Valencia, the Ecuadorian may well have returned to Goodison permanently; though in light of the exorbitant fees repeatedly shelled out under Moshiri, this may seem a pittance by comparison. For a loan, he proved not a bad addition. 6/10
Ademola Lookman - signed from Charlton Athletic for a reported £11 million in January 2017. Another 21-year-old with immense potential but must begin to deliver on a more consistent basis.
Lookman exploded onto the Goodison landscape with a debut goal in the 4-0 trouncing of Man City, but has yet to score in a Premier League match since. His impressive loan spell at RB Leipzig in the second half of last season only underlined his qualities, netting five times in 11 appearances, but too often he has drifted on to the periphery of games for the Blues. The ability is there, but is the fight? 5/10
Morgan Schneiderlin - signed from Manchester United for a reported £20 million in January 2017. The Frenchman made a wonderful impact initially at Goodison, but was often the whipping boy for Everton’s miserable campaign last year, with his application regularly called into question.
He looked to be closer to his old self at the start of this season, but the midfielder has fallen further down the pecking order as the campaign has progressed. One-paced and ill-suited to play alongside Gueye, a similar but superior player, Schneiderlin is another who may well be consigned to history as an expensive mistake. 4/10
The summer of 2017 proved to be the undoing of both Walsh and Koeman, who would both pay with their jobs, as more than £100 million was spent on revamping a side who lost their talisman, Lukaku, to Man Utd. Few signings from such a lamentable window remain.
Davy Klaassen - signed from Ajax for a reported £23.6 million in June 2017. It seems almost unfair to rate the Dutchman given how little he featured in royal blue, but when Klaassen was afforded game time, he rarely made an impression.
Accustomed to the slower pace of his native Eredivisie, he lacked the physical attributes necessary to thrive in England’s top-flight, and was sold at a cut-price £12 million the following summer. Another who proved to define the demise of the Blues’ hierarchy at the time. 2/10
Jordan Pickford - signed from Sunderland for a reported £30 million in June 2017. One of the Blues’ best buys under Moshiri, Pickford has arguably been Everton’s best keeper since Nigel Martyn, and was vital to England’s World Cup journey to the semi-finals last summer.
He has endured a sticky patch of late, and at times may be found guilty of over-enthusiasm, but there is no doubting Pickford has the ability to become one of the best stoppers in the league, if he has not already. 8/10
Michael Keane - signed from Burnley for a reported £25 million in July 2017. Dreadful throughout his first year at Goodison, Keane could have been forgiven for expecting limited game time before the beginning of this campaign, following the summer signings of fellow central defenders Yerry Mina and Kurt Zouma. But, to the surprise of many, he enjoyed an incredible renaissance in the early months of Silva’s reign, winning back his England place in the process.
His form has dipped again lately, though, but he is far from the only Everton player to currently be stuck in a rough patch. A decent signing, but whether he is good enough to help the Blues reach where Moshiri wants them to be is debatable. 6/10
Sandro Ramirez - signed from Malaga for £5.2 million in July 2017. At Leicester, Walsh was renowned for finding overseas hidden gems for paltry fees; N’Golo Kanté and Riyad Mahrez the obvious examples. Having scored 16 La Liga goals in 2016/17, Ramirez was supposed to be in that mould, but he has perhaps proved to be the worst signing made under Moshiri.
The striker looked painfully out of his depth in the Premier League, with his only Blues strike coming in the Europa League dead-rubber against Atalanta. His two subsequent loan spells - back in Spain with Sevilla and, currently Real Sociedad - have yielded zero goals. That he is supposedly pocketing £120,000 is an aberration. 1/10
Wayne Rooney - signed from Man Utd on a free transfer in July 2017. While it would be easy to claim that Rooney’s return home was driven primarily by sentimentality, he finished 2017/18 as Everton’s top scorer and, aside from probably Pickford, their best player. That Allardyce often opted to pigeon-hole him into central midfield was also clearly to his detriment.
Said to have been forced out by Moshiri last summer, Rooney, as much as his powers may be waning in his advancing years, would still walk into Everton’s side, at least amid the plight they currently find themselves in. 7/10
Cuco Martina - signed from Southampton on a free transfer in July 2017. Reunited with Koeman, who signed him at Saints two years earlier, Martina was brought in as deputy to first-choice right-back Seamus Coleman.
But though he often gave his all, he proved to never be good enough for Everton, either in his natural position or when filling in at left-back. Having had his loan at Stoke terminated, he will spend the rest of this season with Feyenoord, but is another who the Blues must be desperate to clear off the wage bill. An odd acquisition. 3/10
Gylfi Sigurdsson - signed from Swansea for a reported £45 million in August 2017. A strange signing, Koeman seemed unable to decide which number ten suited Everton best- Sigurdsson, Klaassen or Rooney, and the Icelander’s early form inevitably suffered as a result.
He has undoubtedly improved, but while he may be in double figures for goals this term, it is difficult to think of a match Sigurdsson has had a real impact on since the 5-1 win at Burnley on Boxing Day. His lack of pace often renders him helpless playing between the midfield and the lone striker, and he, more than most, is badly out of form at the moment. 5/10
Nikola Vlasic - signed from Hajduk Split for a reported £10 million in August 2017. Whether the young Croat winger was brought in solely on the back of two Europa League performances against the Blues in the previous fortnight, only Koeman and Walsh will know.
Either way, Vlasic made an encouraging start on the wing, before Allardyce and Silva cast him out. He has thrived playing in a central role on loan at CSKA Moscow, though, but he has publicly admitted he does not expect a return to Goodison. While a likeable and clearly talented individual, it is difficult to rate Vlasic particularly highly, given his sporadic opportunities. 4/10
Cenk Tosun - signed from Besiktas for a reported £27 million in January 2018. Another who has tailed off after a decent start to life on Merseyside.
Much as Allardyce’s style of play was not aesthetically pleasing, it is hard to deny it suited the more physical game of Tosun better than Silva’s more dynamic approach does. Excuses and industrious attitude, though, eight goals in 38 Everton games is not good enough, especially for such an expensive recruit. 4/10
Theo Walcott - signed from Arsenal for a reported £20 million in January 2018. See also: Tosun. Started well, then faded badly.
Walcott was a rare of light in the dark days of Allardyce’s tenure, and started life under Silva promisingly, but his form has deserted him and looks shot of confidence as a result. For months, he has not merited a place in Silva’s starting line-up, regardless of Everton’s woes. 4/10
*Henry Onyekuru not rated given he has yet to make his Everton debut
New manager, more new signings. The arrival of Silva and new director of football Marcel Brands coincided with a summer window which saw six first-team players arrive at Goodison.
Richarlison - signed from Watford for a reported £40 million in July 2018. Silva’s first buy was one of his old boys, as the Brazilian winger joined his former boss in taking the trip from Vicarage Road up north.
While he has gone off the boil of late, Richarlison has easily been one of Everton’s star men this season, finding the net 11 times despite spending much of the campaign in a less familiar centre-forward role. He must learn to stay on his feet more often, but at just 21, he has plenty of time to eradicate this petulance from his game. He is the sort of player Silva should be looking to build his team around. 8/10
Lucas Digne - signed from Barcelona for a reported £18 million in July 2018. It is baffling that Everton seemingly fought off little, if any, competition for the left-back’s signature, given what a brilliant acquisition he has been so far.
It is as if Leighton Baines, now his understudy, has lost ten years, with Digne matching the veteran in set-piece expertise, defensive assurance and marauding ventures down the flank. Like many, he has had a little wobble of late, but in age where eye-watering, inflated transfer fees are handed out left, right and centre, Digne proves there is still value in the market. 8/10
Bernard - signed from Shakhtar Donetsk on a free transfer in August 2018. The Brazilian is definitely an upgrade on Everton’s previous options on the wing, and has looked in his element at times, often providing for his compatriot, Richarlison.
Though his endeavour cannot be faulted, there is still room for improvement in end product, but a good signing nonetheless. 7/10
Yerry Mina - signed from Barcelona for a reported £27 million in August 2018. It has been a frustrating start for the Colombian on Merseyside, with injury and the form of Keane and Zouma putting paid to his opportunities.
A man-mountain, Mina has certainly improved Everton’s defensive options, and given their recent woes at the back, may find himself in the side when fit again. He has had his low points, but has impressed more often than not in royal blue so far. 6/10
André Gomes - signed from Barcelona on a season-long loan in August 2018. After having to wait until October for his Blues debut, Gomes looked the perfect partner for Gueye in the early months of his Everton career.
But he is suffering for an absence of pre-season training and has not looked himself since the turn of the year. With 17 days between Everton’s next and previous game, a jaded Gomes will surely be one of the biggest beneficiaries from the break in the schedule. 7/10
Kurt Zouma - signed from Chelsea on a season-long loan in August 2018. Probably Everton’s most consistent central defender over the course of the entire season, Zouma should be targeted as a summer signing on a permanent basis.
Like Mina, the Frenchman has disappointed at times, and should arguably feature more on the scoresheet given his imposing, bulky stature, but there is no denying he is an upgrade on what Everton had before. 7/10
When Moshiri looks back on his transfer dealings three years into his Everton journey, the sense of regret should outweigh that of satisfaction.
But after he tightened the purse strings in the January window, in which Everton made no signings, he is at least showing a willingness to learn from his mistakes. As long as he does not become frugal in the extreme, it seems a sensible way forward for the Blues.