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Everton’s worrying financial results place greater reliance on Farhad Moshiri - and Premier League survival

They may have avoided further punishment, but problems may still lie ahead if they drop out of the top flight

Everton FC v Arsenal FC - Premier League Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

Let’s start with the good news – Everton have, somehow, fallen in line with the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules, meaning they avoid a fine or even points deduction despite some more poor financial results.

The club’s cost-cutting measures, that included a frugal summer in the transfer market and decision to open their books up to the Premier League in the autumn, looks to have worked.

But while they fall in line with the rules, the numbers still make grim reading.

Everton have lost in excess of £110m for the last three seasons and have lost more than £385m combined over the last four seasons.

Their losses for the past two financial years to £260.8m, the highest ever recorded losses in the Premier League over two seasons, while a £17m rise in the wage bill to £182m means it now stands at an eye-watering 94.2% of turnover (UEFA’s recommendation is 70%).

Even when you take into account the £170m lost as a result of the pandemic, which saw games played largely behind closed doors, these are still eye-watering losses, made worse by the fact the team has actually gone backwards and finds itself battling against relegation this spring.

To spend SO much cash to get worse takes some doing, and adds fuel to the argument that Everton are the worst run club in the league.

Meanwhile, the termination of sponsorship deals linked to Alisher Usmanov has further weakened the balance sheet at a critical time. It means the club is reliant on the backing of Farhad Moshiri more than ever, while simultaneously being a damning indictment of his six-year reign so far.

Moshiri’s generosity has never been in doubt. He has committed an additional £242m to take his total investment in the club to £592m since his takeover in 2016. However his decision-making has come into question, and it is those decisions that are coming back to haunt him now.

Trying to find the positives is tricky, but there are some there.

Remember this is a snapshot of the club’s finances nearly a year ago. They clearly saw this coming, which explains why they had such a quiet summer in the transfer market last year.

The likes of James Rodriguez (on a reported £200,000 a week), Bernard, Theo Walcott and Yannick Bolasie were all removed from the wage bill, while just £1.7m was spent on Demarai Gray, with the rest of the new faces free transfers.

In January another high earner, Lucas Digne, departed for Aston Villa, helping to fund deals for Nathan Patterson and Vitaly Mykolenko, while the other new signings were loans or free transfers.

At the end of this season the likes of Cenk Tosun, Fabian Delph and Gylfi Sigurdsson will all be out of contract, which should give the club some more breathing space.

Meanwhile, the arrival of new director of football Kevin Thelwell and manager Frank Lampard should hopefully be a reset moment in the transfer market.

Muddled decision-making between Thelwell’s predecessor Marcel Brands and former managers such as Ronald Koeman, Carlo Ancelotti and Rafael Benitez resulted in a chaotic transfer policy that left the club with a bloated, imbalanced squad.

Thelwell has a reputation for developing young players so you’d hope Lampard, a young modern coach, will work much more in sync compared to some of his more old school predecessors (though Moshiri would also have to stop being interfering and being wooed by agents).

Then there is the new stadium, which is already starting to take shape at Bramley Moore Dock.

While Moshiri’s transfer spending has been disastrous, his funding of the Bramley Moore project could be his true legacy and an absolute game-changer for the club.

Goodison Park, as wonderful as it is, has been a millstone around the club’s neck for some time so the chance to finally move into a ground fit for the modern era, with all the additional finances that may bring, is an opportunity that cannot be missed.

But – and it is a big but – all this looks to be dependant on one thing. Avoiding relegation.

Dropping into the Championship would be absolutely catastrophic for the club’s already faltering finances.

The word on Tuesday was that Moshiri remains committed to the club regardless if they go down or not. But it would take a firesale of players to balance the books, while securing the remaining financing for the rest of the stadium build would be much harder without Premier League TV broadcast money behind them.

There is a chance for Everton to put the difficult last few years behind them this summer and rebuild with renewed vigour and optimism, weaning themselves off Moshiri’s wealth and ensuring a sustainable future.

But all that rests on a nerve-shredding final few weeks of the season, as the threat of a first relegation in 71 years continues to loom large.