Everton held their Annual General Meeting last night where the Board discusses the state of affairs around the Club. CEO Denise Barrett-Baxendale offered an encouraging update around the new stadium to be built at Bramley-Moore Dock while Director of Football Marcel Brands discussed the playing squad and the Toffees’ transfer business overall.
The 2020 summer window was a busy one, with the Blues bringing in five players to strengthen the squad, with most of those players making an immediate impact as Everton got off to a flying start in the 2020-21 season.
“It was one of the most challenging and difficult transfer windows ever. In 2018 we started with a squad of 40 players who represented a value of £311m, an average value of £8.2m per player. The current value of our 27 players is more than £456m, an average value of £16.9m per player.
“Since June 2018 we had more than 70 player exits, including loans. During the summer 2020 window we spent a little bit more than £60m and saw 15 players leave, for a total of £6.5m.
“In the current squad we have a good balance of experienced players, young players and players with homegrown status. The average squad age is just above 26 years old. This is a big difference with the squad of two seasons ago, where the average age was a lot higher.”
The Blues also secured the futures of a number of young players, giving them new deals.
“On the player development side, we made huge progress with our young players.
“Richarlison, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Mason Holgate, Anthony Gordon, Joao Virginia and Jarrad Branthwaite… all gave their commitment to new long-term contracts with the Club during the past 12 months.”
Additional reporting from The Athletic indicates that though the Blues are not in the market for any new signings during the January transfer window, they will remain vigilant for any opportunities that arise, which presumably means any possible loan deals such as the current rumours surrounding Bayern Munich striker Joshua Zirkzee.
“We don’t expect to sign new players in this window.”
Brands, who is a member of the Everton Board, is currently on a three-year contract that will expire this summer. Though there has been no talk of an extension for him, most journalists close to the club expect it to get done sooner than later. The Dutchman ended his address with a vote of thanks for Farhad Moshiri who did not speak at the event.
“I want to thank all our Shareholders, especially our Major Shareholder, Mr Farhad Moshiri, for their incredible support to our club. I also want to thank my colleague Board members for their support in my work.
“It’s been an absolute honour to work for this beautiful club for the past two-and-a-half years and I really hope and wish to see you all back at Goodison Park, together with all our fans, as soon as possible.”
The AGM was conducted virtually this year due to the COVID pandemic, and manager Carlo Ancelotti did not speak live, instead a previously-recorded video was shown where he spoke of the club’s commitment to success.
“For this season we made good signings during the transfer window and the squad improved. We’ve had some good results and we are where we want to be in this moment – the position to fight for Europe at the end.
“[Winning silverware] is a strong motivation for every one of us – to bring this Club to where it was when Howard Kendall was manager. We are working for this but we don’t have to be obsessed about it. The fact that we want to win is a strong motivation but not an obsession because sometimes that doesn’t permit you to give 100 per cent.”
Ancelotti has always been known as a players’ manager, and showed insight into his player management style with a couple of humorous anecdotes, as reported by The Athletic.
“I like to have fun with players because they don’t know how I was as a player and so I like to joke with Tom Davies and Abdoulaye Doucoure, the midfielders, saying I was a really good holding midfielder. I have to give them some highlights of my style of play.”
The veteran manager would not be surprised to see a few of the current crop of players going into management, following in Ancelotti’s and Leighton Baines’ footsteps.
“Seamus Coleman is thinking about it. Gylfi Sigurdsson could be a manager. I don’t think Sigurdsson is for it now. Andre Gomes could be too — they could all be good.”
Whether Everton indeed remain passive in this transfer window remains to be seen, especially with European football beckoning after the Blues’ excellent start to the campaign that has seen the Club sitting in top six for most of the season so far.