After enviously observing countless clubs of allegedly inferior stature have their finances inflated by foreign investment, Everton’s turn to visit the money well has finally arrived.
Billionaire Farhad Moshiri has acquired a 49.9% stake in the Goodison Park club and, obviously, terrace anticipation is running high.
Perennially strapped for cash, Everton have been attempting to compete with better-endowed opponents for several seasons, the majority of whom have used their superior fiscal power to procure their best players.
Chairman Bill Kenwright, the former majority shareholder, and his perceived reluctance to invest the profits made on departing stars has been a growing source of supporter chagrin in recent seasons, but Moshiri’s arrival, it is hoped, will see this age of frugality fall.
On the surface it seems great news for fans, but it’s even better news for John Stones and his chances of leaving Merseyside at the end of the season.
The Toffees were steadfast in their refusal to sell the England international to Chelsea last summer, rejecting offers all the way up to £38m according to some reports.
It was a generous bid for a player who, at present, is considered the third-best centre-back in the Everton ranks and their refusal to accept it certainly raised a few eyebrows.
At the time of the rejection, boss Roberto Martinez maintained that the club weren’t interested in selling their best players and any offers were unwelcome.
But was it possible his unwillingness to sell was derived from prior experience with the Toffees’ moneymen?
Perhaps aware that he would only be given a small fraction of the Stones sale funds to sign a replacement, the Spaniard thought they’d be better off keeping hold of the defender.
Interest in the former Barnsley youngster has continued to grow in the time that’s elapsed, with links to Barcelona commonplace on the back pages.
Were the Catalan outfit to weigh in with an offer for Stones – a player he has been using as back up to Phil Jagielka and Ramiro Funes Mori in recent matches – how could Martinez deny him the opportunity and, simultaneously, expect him to remain committed?
Simply put, he couldn’t, but selling him isn’t a problem now Moshiri is in town, with the coach far more likely to receive all the money raised through selling Stones to build a better team.