‘Imminent’ Everton takeover could prove to have been worth the wait

In November 2007, Everton chairman Bill Kenwright was asked if he would be willing to step aside and sell his beloved Blues after eight years of ownership.

“If the right person stands in front of me and wants to take this club forward then I will sell.”

Nine years on, it appears that that quote will, finally, come to fruition.

And, despite the publicity surrounding American duo John Jay Moores and Charles Noell, it is not set to be them.

Takeover talks went into overdrive late Friday night after a mystery buyer was said to be set to acquire the Toffees for £200m in the coming days.

Other supposedly interested parties linked to buying Everton have included a wealthy Jordanian, as well as two Chinese groups.

But it is the name of Farhad Moshiri that is now front and centre of every Evertonian’s mind.

evertoncrest

The 60 year old is said to be looking to buy a majority stake of 75% in the Blues – a deal that all of Everton’s major shareholders are said to agree on.

But just who is Mr Moshiri, and what could the self-made billionaire do to quickly win over the Everton support?

According to Forbes, the dual Iranian-British national has a net worth of $1.79bn – a figure that made him the 26th wealthiest man in the UK in 2015.

That total was recently boosted by the sale of Moshiri’s shares in Red and White Holdings – Arsenal’s second largest shareholding – to business partner Alisher Usmanov after apparently becoming frustrated at a lack of influence at the Emirates Stadium.

A tidy sum of money, then.

And one which would certainly increase Everton’s standing within the British game.

The Toffees arguably boast their best first team squad since the glory days of the 1980s.

Bbut an underwhelming 18 months on the pitch has left sections of the Goodison faithful fearing that their starlets in Ross Barkley, Romelu Lukaku and John Stones could soon look for pastures new in their pursuit of silverware.

A takeover of this magnitude, coupled with the potential arrival of other star players and progress on the field over the course of the next few seasons, would likely see those players sticking around.

It is no surprise, either, that Everton are in dire need of a new stadium.

goodisonpark

Goodison Park is still a magnificent, almost-magical venue, especially under the flood lights for an evening kick off.

But its position in L4 is well documented – landlocked by surrounding residential areas, it is nigh-on impossible for the ground to be expanded in any direction.

Unable to increase capacity and remove the obstructed views, Goodison’s attendance cannot be grown.

A possible solution? Buying up those houses around Goodison for a decent sum of money, and renovating the Old Lady that way.

Another would be to build a new ground elsewhere within the boundaries of Liverpool – with Moshiri’s wealth, this might not prove to be such a sticking point in terms of having to drum up sponsorship through naming rights, or moseying into a deal with another company.

The club has also seen its fair share of sizeable debt – reduced to a fraction of what it was in the past, but still saddled with a net debt of £31.3m as of the 2014/15 campaign, wiping away this negative equity would go some way to giving Everton a platform on which to build.

And, with Mr Moshiri’s background in chartered accounting, he would certainly have a sound understanding of every financial endeavour taken in L4.

Furthermore, a report in Saturday’s Daily Telegraph points out that Mr Moshiri would be willing to allow current chairman Kenwright to remain involved in the executive decision-making process within the club, perhaps temporarily,  which would aid the handing over the proverbial reins.

billkenwright

It would prove to be a shrewd move that would get current manager Roberto Martinez on side too, with the Spaniard recently saying: “I’ve always said what the chairman is for Everton and I wouldn’t want Bill Kenwright to lose his association with Everton, ever.

“I think it would be a loss if we do that. Whatever the investment or whatever the situation is in the future, in 10 or 15 years I would love to see Everton benefit from our chairman for the rest of his life.”

All of which makes the rumour surrounding Farhad Moshiri’s interest in purchasing the club all the more salivating.

Of course, it may be merely coincidental that Everton’s supposed new buyer is Mr Moshiri, given that he has just sold his shares in another Premier League club.

But the prospect of a wealthy individual, with business acumen that has seen him work for Deloitte Touch and Ernest & Young, as well as holding shares in Russian-based giants Metalloinvest and Megafon, would be seen as a huge coup for Everton Football Club.

If the rumours prove to be true, a new exciting era could be about to begin.

For Evertonians, it may well prove to have been worth the wait.

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