Everton Women Sporting and Commercial Director Sarvar Ismailov has described signing England legend Jill Scott as “a huge statement” as he set out the Club’s ambition to emerge as a genuine force in European football.
Midfielder Scott – who was an FA Cup winner with Everton during a seven-year spell with the Blues from 2006-2013 – has joined the Toffees on a loan deal from Manchester City for the remainder on the 2020/21 campaign.
Ismailov believes Scott’s “winning edge” and experience can help Everton hit new heights this season as the Blues seek to compete with the WSL’s leading sides.
Scott has won 149 England caps – second only to Fara Williams in the Lionesses’ all-time appearances chart – and lifted seven major trophies during her time at City.
Ismailov says signing a player of such international stature represents an important step in Everton Women’s journey.
“It’s a huge signing,” Ismailov told evertontv.
“Jill doesn’t just bring her quality as a footballer. She brings personality, a winning mentality and leadership.
“I know how the rest of the squad was excited when she came in this morning. It’s a joy to be around her. She brings that winning edge.
“I think she can improve the mentality of the team.
Pictured: Sarvar Ismailov, Everton Women Sporting and Commercial Director.
“The main reason why we were successful making the signing was Jill herself. The enthusiasm and the joy she has for the Club still remains.
“We’re trying to build a winning club and a winning team. We made a big statement in the summer, with the signing of Valerie [Gauvin] and the other six players we brought in.
“This is just another one to show other clubs we are not here to be regarded as a top-four or top-five team – we are here to win and to compete with the big clubs. We want teams to really respect us and fear us in some ways, when they play us.
“It [signing Scott] is a huge statement – and there will be more statements to come. That’s for sure.”
Ismailov was appointed Everton Women’s first Sporting and Commercial Director in March 2020.
After playing a key role in Everton’s successful summer transfer window, he saw the Blues kick off the season in blistering style and reach the Women's FA Cup final in November.
While Willie Kirk’s side were edged out after extra-time after a heroic effort against Manchester City at Wembley, Ismailov explained how the experience further intensified his desire to help bring success to the Club.
“It’s important to point out we were making good progress before I came in,” Ismailov added.
“But I’m happy with how things have gone. Reaching the FA Cup final was huge.
“I could see how disappointed the players were to lose the final…but it also gave them that smell of glory.
“We will make sure we go to Wembley again, and hopefully achieve a Champions League spot.
“And that will make a big difference with the players you’re trying to recruit. They all want to play in the Champions League.
“We are looking to sign players every transfer window. We don’t want to bring success in five or six years, we want to bring it now.
“We want to make Everton fans across the world proud.”
Ismailov is part of an Everton Women Strategic Leadership Team headed by the Club’s CEO, Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale.
Ismailov, who was previously Everton’s Global Partnerships consultant, explained how Professor Barrett-Baxendale’s guidance has helped to smooth his transition into his key role with Everton Women.
He says her approachable nature and humility is reflective of the Club’s family ethos.
Ismailov added: “I was actually speaking to Denise yesterday and she told me she could tell in my voice how much I am enjoying my role!
“We are very close. She is a great leader. She has really guided me and helped me in many ways.
“She is our CEO and also the driving force behind the whole of the Club.
“And the whole Club, from the bottom to the top, everyone is very close.
“It is a unique thing when someone tells you is Everton a family club – and it truly is.”