If you’ve read the gossip columns or succumbed to the clickbait of late, you will have no doubt grown tired of the great hypothetical transfer bonanza that’s not been happening at Everton. The Toffees have offered £30-40m all over the shop, and seem well-placed to sign at least two first teams but may well be pipped by… I don’t know, Chelsea? Back in the real world, Farhad Moshiri continued as he started.

Everton manager Ronald Koeman welcomes new director of football Steve Walsh to the club.

After a few programme notes and a brief appearance in front of the camera, Moshiri deliberately drifted into the background at Goodison. He said very little as he developed an understanding. Three months into his tenure, Roberto Martinez was sacked with one game remaining, and in the seven subsequent weeks, Moshiri has completely restructured the club. There’s a new board, a superb new manager and, as of Thursday, a director of football for the first time in the club’s history. Steve Walsh, chief scout, joint assistant manager and principal architect of Leicester’s still incomprehensible title win, has been convinced to leave behind hero status at the King Power and help Koeman rebuild Everton. Gluttony of quality to interrupt Evertonians’ diet of mediocrity.

Walsh leaves behind a golden folklore at Leicester, a chief scout’s dream surely: a bargain team of rejected misfits who became near unbeatable champions. The standout successes are stunning. Walsh found one of the world’s best defensive midfielders in a promoted Ligue 1 side, he snaffled the Premier League player of the year from the division below, and purchased the Golden Boot winner from Fleetwood. All for £7m. He enabled the most absurd dream. Walsh’s invaluable knowledge will form the basis of the plan Everton have needed for decades, but how the club’s newly acquired wealth recalibrates Walsh’s trajectory from the hard-working, overlooked pros who gelled perfectly for Leicester will be fascinating.

Moshiri’s first choice was Sevilla’s seemingly unseatable Monchi but a Premier League-winning fall-back option highlights the scope of his ambition. Fighting so hard for a man who has never previously been a director of football demonstrates total confidence in Walsh, and indeed his manager given Koeman’s favour for the former Leicester man. Moshiri means business. Optimistic pursuits became inevitable captures when the vision and the resources available were made clear. Two top six clubs were left powerless. Far be it from me to make Don Corleone comparisons, but Moshiri literally makes offers people can’t refuse.

Wholesale change

Under a brand new management structure, Koeman and Walsh were effectively offered the chance to define their roles and name their price. Infrastructural poverty transformed by wealth into fertile conditions for wholesale change. It adds a perverse perspective to the years without investment, a plan, or a proper board. Perhaps this unique opportunity to completely rebuild Everton would not exist without it. Perhaps Koeman and Walsh would have waited for a better offer. Maybe if, for example, the King’s Dock had happened, there’d be less appeal for an investor. One thing’s for certain, and it will make a lot of people uncomfortable to admit this, but Bill Kenwright has played an absolute blinder with Moshiri.

Not only has the new man modernised the club, he’s reconnected the fans. Last year at Goodison was the worst I’ve known. Horrendously bad displays bred hair trigger angst; occasional fights in the stands left more permanent impressions than any of the football. Years of frustration with the board and disillusionment with the team’s stasis crystallised in the despair of Martinez’s harrowing inadequacy. A torturous, alienating campaign left fans so angry and fragmented, everyone felt surrounded by idiots. Then, via Moshiri, unity on the common ground of optimism. Whatever you believe about Martinez, whatever you thought about Moyes, whatever you think of Kenwright, Everton have finally got their act together, let’s bloody well enjoy it.

Claudio Ranieri chat's with former chief scout and joint assistant manager Steve Walsh during their title-winning campaign at Leicester.

One brief note on the afore-mentioned but obviously overshadowed new board: Moshiri’s approach here should also be commended. His first acts a month into the job were to appoint Everton Chief Executive Roberto Elstone and Alexander Ryazantsev, a financial expert and long-time associate, to the board alongside Kenwright and Jon Woods. On June 5, Everton in the Community Chief Executive, and Everton Deputy Chief Executive, Dr. Denise Barrett-Baxendale MBE – a seriously impressive individual – was also added. Two part-of-the-furniture Evertonians bolstered by a new generation of sport marketing, finance and community specialists – that sounds reassuringly logical to me.

There may be further staff additions particularly with scouts Kevin Reeves and Steve Brown moving on, but that, in terms of the major restructuring, will probably be that. Now surely Koeman and Walsh can begin the task of making Everton’s squad Champions League-worthy. That’s a significant challenge considering 11th-placed Everton must plug many gaps in the squad and upgrade every department considerably. But at long last, the money’s there and Everton finally have the individuals to spend it wisely.
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By Chris Smith
Follow me on Twitter @cdsmith789 

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