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Everton, end of the game? / Premier League / J34 / Liverpool-Everton / April 24, 2022 /

If the fight for maintenance rages in France, a real earthquake could take place on the other side of the Channel. Seven days from the end of the ball, Everton is in a bad position, and the hypothesis of a first relegation for 71 years cannot be ruled out. To get away from the abyss, it will be necessary to score points against Arsenal, Leicester, Chelsea and at Anfield, against rival Liverpool, this Sunday. Whose fault is it ? The Iranian billionaire Farhad Moshiri, installed on the banks of the Mersey since 2016, may have spent lavishly, he is nonetheless responsible for this fiasco.

“After an exhaustive search, we found the perfect partner to move the club forward. I have come to know Farhad well over the last 18 months and his knowledge of football, his financial means and his genuine spirit have convinced me that he is the right man to support Everton. » On February 27, 2016, President Bill Kenwright was sure of it: he had finally found a credible investor capable of bringing, in the short term, the Toffees alongside the leaders of the English championship. An overflowing ambition and a hope turned into despair in recent weeks. Six years after the Iranian businessman took over the club, Everton are not immune to slipping into the red zone in the Premier League.

David versus Goliath

With only a small unit lead (29 points in total) on the first relegation and one game less, Everton are still far from having secured their place among the Kingdom’s elite next season. The calculation is simple: in order not to get on the elevator, Frank Lampard’s band must do better than Burnley, first relegation and 28 points on the clock, during their next 7 meetings. The task will not be easy given the infernal calendar of Toffees (travel to Liverpool, Arsenal and Leicester; reception of Chelsea) when the Clarets seem to benefit from a less scary schedule (Wolverhampton, Aston Villa and Newcastle at home; trips to Watford, Tottenham and Aston Villa, for a late game).

Another downside for Everton: the very strong decision of Alan Pace. “We felt a change was needed to give the team the best possible chance of staying in the Premier League.” , had indicated the president of Burnley on April 15, when Sean Dyche was fired. Wout Weghorst’s teammates have made two excellent copies since the British tactician was ousted. A draw (1-1) at West Ham and a success against Southampton (2-0). It’s hard to say the same for Lampard’s soldiers, who snatched an unexpected point against Leicester (1-1) in added time a few days ago. Sluggish, messy, and without a defined game plan since the arrival of the former glory of Blues on January 31, the Toffees will have to resist the ogre Liverpool, which has 47 points more than its rival before receiving it at Anfield.

“We are going to play against the strongest and fittest team in the league. We are the outsiders, that’s clear. But we have to fightlaunched Lampard at a press conference last Friday. I expect passion, combat and desire. There isn’t a game plan in the world that will work without it. » A major challenge for the worst away team this season in the Premier League (6 points pocketed in 15 trips) against the best attack at home. To make matters worse, the English coach will have to compose without his two strong men, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Donny van de Beek. Returning to the field after two months of absence last Wednesday, Yerry Mina could also stay at home this Sunday after feeling discomfort in training. But if a few hours from moving to his neighbor, the blue soldier finds himself more disarmed than ever, it’s good that the commanders have never really filled the ammunition cases.

“When Haaland was in Salzburg, I had a long talk with his father and we had reached a four million euro agreement. Only four! The club did not want to support me. » Steve Walsh, Everton’s recruitment director between 2016 and 2018

Satin, big sums and Erling Haaland

At the time of seeing Tottenham pass five to Everton on March 7, the British press wondered: how a team made up of attractive players – whatever one may say – like Richarlison, Abdoulaye Doucouré, Allan or Van de Beek again, could seem so harmless? A story of instability and a project without much clarity, like this crazy statistic that day: the eleven lined up by Lampard against the Spurs consisted of players bought under six different coaches. Jordan Pickford, Michael Keane and Dominic Calvert-Lewin arrived under Ronald Koeman; Richarlison to bolster Marco Silva’s team; Allan and Abdoulaye Doucouré during the tenure of Carlo Ancelotti; in addition to the arrival of Donny van de Beek, Jonjoe Kenny and Anthony Gordon have really joined Lampard’s first team in recent months; Mason Holgate was frankly launched by Sam Allardyce in the winter of 2017; finally the eternal Seamus Coleman left his suitcases at the club in 2009. All that denotes a bloody imbalance. The continuity does not exist since the arrival of Moshiri and the dismissal of Roberto Martínez.

It is well known, with time and patience, the mulberry leaf becomes silk. But in a hurry and eager to get results quickly, billionaire Farhad Moshiri decided to reap too much fruit at the expense of the quality and consistency of a project. No surprise that the textile developed at the end did not take on the expected color. For six years, Everton has spent no less than 620 million euros to strengthen. An astronomical sum which places the Mersey club among the biggest spenders in Europe. The Toffees Paradoxically pay today for this impatience and this management problem. If the board made some nice moves, like Idrissa Gueye, bought for only eight million euros in 2016, the vast majority of purchases under the Moshiri era did not convince. In the chess department: Gylfi Sigurdsson (50 million); Davy Klaassen, André Gomes and Moise Kean (30 million); Yannick Bolasie (29 million); Alex Iwobi and Jean-Philippe Gbamin (25 million); Theo Walcott, Cenk Tosun, Sandro Ramírez, Djibril Sidibé or even Fabian Delph, also arrived against large sums.

“I offered them contracts for Andrew Robertson and Harry Maguire while they were at Hull City. I had managed to negotiate a price of twenty million pounds for both. Everton did not want to take themwas surprised Steve Walsh, the former sporting director of the club, with The Athletic. I also offered Jonny Evans a contract before he came to Leicester, but again they didn’t want it. » To even better reflect this mismanagement, the one who is today a member of the recruitment unit of FC Charlotte, in MLS, claimed to have reached an agreement with Erling Haaland. “When he was in Salzburg, I had a long talk with his father, and we had concluded a four million euro agreement. Only four! The club did not want to support me. »

Ready to do anything to obtain short-term results, the management even hired the former tactician of Reds, Rafa Benítez, last July. And that, even against all the actions of the supporters not wishing to give the keys to the truck to a former rival. This agitation in the stands has also won the battle, since the Spanish coach packed up only six months after his arrival. Since then, the break between the lovers of this club and Moshiri is accentuated, and it will be necessary to show intelligence in the coming months. If Lampard’s men do not prevent a first relegation since 1951, the Iranian shareholder could decamp and end a turbulent era, without success. So, game over?

by Matthew Darbas


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