Everton‘s board have broken their silence on why the club did not make a signing in the January transfer window - and why they lost out on a deal for Arnaut Danjuma.
The Toffees failed to make a single addition last month. That’s despite former manager Frank Lampard admitting on several occasions that attacking reinforcements were needed to help in the Premier League relegation battle, with Everton lacking firepower in the final third.
The Blues had hoped to sign Danjuma on loan from Villarreal. Despite the move appearing complete, Tottenham Hotspur hijacked the forward’s switch to Goodison Park. Meanwhile, Anthony Gordon was sold to Newcastle United, although he was not replaced.
Replying to questions submitted to the club by the Fan Advisory Board in January - which were answered by board members with input from the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) and Senior Leadership Team (SLT) - it was asked why transfer business is left until the end of the transfer window.
What’s been said
The reply said: “We are sure this is a question that many supporters ask of their clubs. We can assure you Kevin Thelwell [director of football] and his team began to identify potential January targets as soon as the summer window closed. Recruitment is an ongoing process that never stops.
“From the outset, we had a clear plan for the January window, which was to focus on adding players who could significantly and immediately improve our starting XI. That was always going to be challenging in what was a very limited marketplace (reflected by the nature of some of the fees that were commanded).
“As was widely reported, one of our primary targets was the Villarreal forward Arnaut Danjuma, who not only fitted the profile of player we wanted to bring in but also offered the best value for money in an over-inflated market. After extensive negotiations, we had a deal in place and the player was heading to Finch Farm to complete the formalities, only for another club to step in at the 11th hour.
“With that deal no longer viable, the reality was that there was only a very small pool of available players who would have improved our first XI. We worked hard on securing players of the right quality - but were unable to reach agreement with the clubs we were liaising with. Our efforts were hindered by the fact our negotiating power was impacted by our responsibility to also remain compliant with profit and sustainability rules.
“We could have added players that we knew to be available but that we also knew were not of the necessary quality to positively impact our team. When Sean Dyche was appointed as our new manager, he shared the view that any new signings had to be capable of making an immediate impact to the first XI and improve the options already available to us. Sean also felt the squad he inherited has more quality than our league position at the time of his arrival suggested.”
The Fan Advisory Board said it remains ‘concerned about the lack of recognition from the club about the legitimate concerns being expressed by many supporters about the club’s current situation and the need for further clarity in a number of key areas’.
The reponse said: “We welcome the Club’s commitment to respond to the questions submitted.
“However, we remain concerned about the lack of recognition from the club about the legitimate concerns being expressed by many supporters about the club’s current situation and the need for further clarity in a number of key areas.
“In its response, the club refers to its ‘overarching vision…to re-establish Everton amongst football’s elite”’ Whilst we would expect that this is a vision shared by all Evertonians, it is clear that our performance on and off the pitch has shown we are some way from achieving that.
“We have been extremely concerned about the lack of proactive visible leadership, communication and engagement with the supporter base at a time when it has been needed most. This situation is unacceptable, and we urge the Club to address it. It is what Evertonians deserve.
“We will also be seeking further clarification on a number of areas such as future ownership of the Club, commercial performance, strengthening governance, stadium financing and future supporter engagement and communications. We next meet with the Club on Tuesday 28 February.”