Will Everton spend this January?

That's the question on the lips of every Everton fan as the Toffees enter a January window in desperate need of a striker to fire in the goals missing since Romelu Lukaku moved on more than two years ago.

The 87 goals scored by Lukaku across his four seasons at the club have in no way been replaced, though many millions have been spent trying.

Moise Kean was the latest forward brought onto Merseyside and although he was clearly a long-term prospect for the club he has failed to take the chances handed to him so far.

Meanwhile, a central midfield player would not go amiss, given the recent long-term injury suffered by Andre Gomes , and Everton are also looking thin in central defence.

Clearly, with Everton languishing in the table, the squad needs refreshment, as well as bodies to help replace the catalogue of injuries.

But from a financial perspective, do major moves look likely?

 

And how have Everton reached this stage in a decade that that began with David Moyes and ended with Marco Silva ?

Everton broke the habit of a decade in January this year when they failed to bring a single player to Goodison Park, either on a permanent transfer or on loan, and the reason, it seemed, was largely down to money.

For the previous eight seasons, at least one new face had been welcomed to the club in January, although the success of Everton's January strategy can be seriously questioned.

Of all the players that moved to Everton during the winter month of the decade, only John Stones , back in 2013, can really hold his head high as both a successful signing and piece of business for the club, given his £47.5million move to Manchester City three-and-a-half years later.

John Stones

Honorable mentions can also be made to Nikica Jelavic but the fact is Everton have spent poorly in January - and the problem has exacerbated since Farhad Moshiri came aboard in February 2016.

January is often a strange and unnerving time for clubs to make moves in the transfer market, with knowledge that a premium is to be paid in an inflated market and with players sometimes unwilling to up sticks halfway through a season.

 

In Moshiri's first two January windows, money was seemingly no issue for Everton, when his generosity allowed the club to move for Morgan Schneiderlin and Ademola Lookman ; and then Cenk Tosun and Theo Walcott .

But 10 months ago, as Moshiri saw his third January window come to pass, the winter spending stopped.

Everton owner Farhad Moshiri at Goodison Park
Everton owner Farhad Moshiri at Goodison Park

Marcel Brands , who had joined Everton the previous summer as director of football, to work alongside new manager Marco Silva, had put a lid on costs , in particular the club's out-of-control wage bill.

Another summer of spending had come to pass at Goodison Park, with Richarlison , Lucas Digne , Bernard and Yerry Mina joining the ranks and Brands admitted he was no fan of the January window, enforced or not.

With the club turning to austerity in January, a net spend of around £64million was declared for the season, taking the total up to the end of 2018/19 under Moshiri to almost £160million.

 

On the back of that heavy summer, Everton's decision not to invest in the 2019 January window quickly became apparent, with publication of the team's financial results for 12 months up to the summer of 2018.

The Toffees, it was revealed, had lost around £2million per week in 2017/18 before the one-time profits from player sales - mainly Romelu Lukaku, but also meaningful contributions from Ross Barkley , Gerard Deulofeu and Tom Cleverley - were factored in.

Romelu Lukaku of Everton celebrates scoring his side's third goal against Burnley with Ross Barkley (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Still, even adding these back, Everton lost £13million that season, a swing of more than £40million on their profit from 2016/17 after Moshiri agreed to underwrite losses.

Moshiri, it should be pointed out, had wiped Everton's debts on coming aboard in 2016, which had reached more than £50million, including high interest-bearing loans that had weighed Everton's balance sheet down for years. He still had to keep an eye on costs, however.

During the 2017/18 season. club's wage bill grew significantly following the expensive summer signings of Wayne Rooney , Gylfi Sigurdsson , Michael Keane , Jordan Pickford and Davy Klaassen by manager Ronald Koeman .

Read More

Everton nostalgia interviews

His successor, Sam Allardyce , was then handed the funds to secure the January signings of Tosun and Walcott, meaning by the end of the season more than £40million was reportedly added to the wage bill.

To put this in perspective, Everton's £145.5million wage bill declared at the end of the season was more than £90million higher than the £54million declared at the beginning of the decade, in 2009/10.

Everton's revenues only stood at a little under £190million for the season, up around 10% from the year before, as the Premier League's three-year broadcasting deal beginning in 2016 proved a game-changer. The club had begun the decade with an income of around £79million, outmatching the rise in wages but clearly not by much.

Given Everton's surge in spending on both transfers and wages, the team required outside financing to remain solvent.

Sam Allardyce looks on during Everton's warm weather training camp in Dubai
Sam Allardyce looks on during Everton's warm weather training camp in Dubai

Moshiri handed the club £105million that season - a shareholder loan that would be classed as equity - adding to the £45million signed over in the same way the season before.

Per Everton's accounts, Moshiri's personal investment up to the date the accounts were signed off later in the year had seen the Iranian pump around £250million into the club, with an additional £100million interest free loan provided after the close of the season.

Still, this was not enough, as the club engineered a further £75million of additional financing in 2017/18.

 

Money due from the Premier League was used as security for a £43million loan while a further £32.2million was loaned by selling off future guaranteed payments from undisclosed businesses - a process known as factoring.

Everton were no stranger to losing money but important to note here was the reality their cost base had run to alarming levels, with player sales absolutely essential to mitigating losses.

Throughout the decade, Everton declared pre-tax profits on only two occasions - 2013/14 and 2016/17 - and again these were down to player sales.

Marouane Fellaini's eleventh-hour move to Manchester United back in 2013 saw the club report a £28million profit for the season, while the money prised from Manchester City for John Stones in 2016 led to an even better £31million profit.

Everton had in fact kicked off the decade in this spirit, with their 2009/10 books almost balanced by the sale of Joleon Lescott to Manchester City.

David Moyes manager gives instructions to Joleon Lescott in 2007

What's interesting here is that the profits from 2013/14 and 2016/17 had pretty outweighed all the other losses suffered throughout the decade, with Everton largely sticking to budget.

The Toffees' worst losses reported so far in the decade came back in 2015/16, at £24.3million.

But this can be explained by the club taking on more than £11million of exceptional one-off costs, including millions paid out for sacking Roberto Martinez at the end of the season.

When the accounts for 2018/19 eventually drop, Everton will see a dramatic fall in profits declared from player sales, with only Ramiro Funes Mori set to provide a material uptick to the column.

However, Everton have turned this around for the current season, and should show significant gains on player sales after making more than their money back on Idrissa Gueye , Ademola Lookman , Nikola Vlasic and Henry Onyekuru .

Ademola Lookman in action for RB Leipzig

All this is to say that Moshiri's commitment at Everton is not under question going into the new decade; just the reality that he is not Roman Abramovich or an ATM to provide endless funds.

The Iranian has personally recognised the need to reduce the wage bill, a task handed to Brands upon his appointment, stating this year that Everton would continue to look at "younger players on low wages.

"You might have to pay big fees," he said, as Everton had done with Richarlison , "but you've got to keep the wages down and that is the challenge."

Meanwhile, all the moves made by Moshiri indicate he and his fortune are going nowhere.

 

Just this summer, he spent millions increased his holding in Everton to more than 77% - having previously taken his 49.9% holding to around 68% - signalling his intent to remain in the long term and invest in Everton both on and off the pitch.

And right now, Everton, under the Iranian, have grander ambitions than patching up their team in the January window.

At the top of Everton's financial planning for the new decade are the club's hopes of moving into a £500millon new stadium by the midway point of the 2020s.

Moshiri is personally championing the plans, making his own "commitment of equity" to fund the project that will see a world-class stadium built at Bramley-Moore Dock .

A still of Everton's proposed new stadium at Bramley-Moore dock

The proposed 52,000 seat stadium would greatly overshadow Goodison Park, which can currently house a little under 40,000, both in terms of seats and hospitality.

A greater financial footprint from match days could greatly boost Everton, too, given the club is so reliant on broadcasting income from the Premier League to part-fund operations.

In 2017/18, Everton made only around £16million from match receipts at Goodison Park - a drop in the ocean compared to the £130million banked from the Premier League and £12million from UEFA that season.

This week the ECHO are running a special series of articles looking back at the key moments from the last decade for Everton.

Each day, there will be three new articles; one in the morning, one at lunchtime and one in the evening.

Here are some of the best bits so far...

 

On the other side of Stanley Park, Liverpool declared match day earnings of more than £80million in 2017/18, having completed expansion work back in 2016 and announced more to come moving into the new decade.

For Everton's stadium ambitions to come to fruition, the club still requires hundreds of millions of additional financing - Spurs, as a model, were able to loan hundreds of millions from banks given their growing status as a global brand in the 2010s and then refinance this debt via  bond issue with US investors.

If and when the stadium opens, and the exact terms of Everton's financing to get it over the line, could see a dramatic turn in fortunes for a club desperate to regain its status as one of England's best after years in the shadows.