Brands On Everton Transfer Policy

Marcel Brands says Everton’s squad has “a lot more quality and greater strength in depth” than was the case 18 months ago – but there is “much work to be done” to fulfil the Club's “ambitious but clear vision”.

Director of Football Brands, who was reappointed to the Everton Board after a vote by Shareholders at Everton's General Meeting on Tuesday, joined the Club in summer 2018 and has overseen 63 transfer deals during three trading windows.

The Dutchman, one of the architects of PSV Eindhoven's three domestic titles in the four seasons to 2017/18, spoke to Shareholders at Everton’s General Meeting on Tuesday.

Brands, who revealed Alex Iwobi is closing on full fitness following a hamstring injury, reflected on a “busy” summer when Everton achieved the majority of their transfer objectives.

He also insisted the Club’s fertile Academy remains at the core of Everton’s desire to create a “winning environment”.

Brands began by explaining Everton’s approach to the transfer market in summer 2019, when seven players arrived at Goodison Park.

“During what proved to be a very busy summer, we worked incredibly hard to achieve our objective of a squad of 23,” started Brands.

“In the main, we did what we set out to – although we didn’t succeed in getting the right number of defenders.

“It was a challenge to get the players on our list in the key positions.

“It was also our intention to bring in money to make it possible to sign the players we wanted.

“It was also important we introduced some of our young players to development opportunities at new clubs. We were able to find some good moves… with Jonjoe Kenny a prime example.

“He was ready to play but we had Seamus Coleman playing regularly in that position. We needed to give Jonjoe, at this stage in his career, the opportunity to play regular football at a very good level.

“But we also needed two players in the right-back position. Schalke in Germany was a perfect loan move for Jonjoe and he is now playing every week. We are sure he will come back to compete in the first team next season."

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01:33

CEO THANKS EVERTON FAMILY AHEAD OF 'EXCITING FUTURE'

Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale discusses Bramley-Moore Dock, Annual Report and what's ahead in 2020.


On the additions of midfield trio Andre Gomes, Fabian Delph and Jean-Philippe Gbamin, attackers Alex Iwobi and Moise Kean, Djibril Sidibe on loan from Monaco and goalkeeper Jonas Lossl, Brands continued: “They were seven strong additions to our squad in the positions we needed to fill – and their arrivals were counter-balanced by the sale of 11 players and a further 13 players going out on loan deals.

“That amounts to 31 transfer deals in one summer. It was necessary in order to put the Club closer to the position we should be moving forward - but it is too high a number.

“Indeed, we were involved in more transfers than any other Premier League club over the summer.

"There remains much work to be done – and the impact of that work may not be apparent immediately. After a very strong end to the 2018/19 season, the start of this campaign has not been without its challenges, its frustrations and disappointments.

“It is my aim in the future to get us to a position where we are looking at only a couple of deals each transfer window to develop and improve our squad.”

Brands’ first technical director post came at RKC Waalwijk where on a limited budget and following the recruitment of manager Martin Jol he edged the club towards European qualification.

After seven years he moved to AZ Alkmaar in 2005 and joined forces with boss Louis Van Gaal to upset the established order in Dutch football and become the first club in 28 years outside Dutch giant trio Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord to claim the league title in 2009.

Brands came to Everton after nine years with PSV and is now immersed in his latest challenge, namely aiding the the Club’s mission to return to the pinnacle of domestic and European football.

“In terms of the squad we have now, compared to the squad we had when I arrived at the Club, we have a lot more quality and greater strength in depth,” added Brands.

“It’s so important to create a squad that has balance in terms of positions covered and age.

“Our squad is younger, we have more value on the pitch.

“At the end of the [summer 2019] window we had a squad with 23 players, albeit with one gap in the centre-back position which we didn’t succeed in filling with a player of the calibre we wanted.”

On the role of Everton’s renowned Academy in his vision for the Club, Brands said: “It has been important to me that we share our first- team environment with the Academy because we’re all working for the same Club and the same goal – to create a winning environment.

“I have always made sure I am giving the right time and effort to the Academy because it is a hugely important project for the Club. We have a proud history of homegrown talent and it is so important we continue to give our young players the opportunity to progress into the first team.

“The most important thing for us is to make sure our supporters are proud of Everton. And there is so much pride in seeing good football being played that wins games - with homegrown players part of that success.”

Forward Iwobi has been sidelined since damaging a hamstring against former club Arsenal on 21 December. Midfielder Jean-Philippe Gbamin, meanwhile, suffered a quadriceps injury in training back in August.

"There is some good news with Alex Iwobi, he is almost fit again," said Brands, who added his delight at seeing Andre Gomes training at USM Finch Farm a little more than two months after suffering a fracture dislocation of his right ankle playing against Tottenham Hotspur on 3 November.

"Jean-Philippe Gbamin is working hard."

Brands wrapped up by expressing his gratitude to Chairman Bill Kenwright, Majority Shareholder Farhad Moshiri and Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale, the Club's Chief Executive Officer, for the trio's consistent support in driving Everton towards their primary objective of sustained on-field success.

“I would like to say a personal thank you to our CEO Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale, who always supports me, our Chairman, who I must have spoken to on more than 1,000 phone calls during the summer transfer window and who is such a key figure for this Club, and to our owner Mr Moshiri, who makes it all possible with his commitment, backing and understanding," said Brands.

“The team we have could not do what it does without the people behind us. We have a clear and shared vision – and we will continue to drive this Club forward to ensure we achieve our objectives.” 

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03:40

CEO'S GENERAL MEETING PRESENTATION - THE KEY POINTS

What Denise Barrett-Baxendale told shareholders at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.