The current Everton boss David Moyes has been heavily linked with the vacant manager’s job at Tottenham after the North London club sacked Harry Redknapp last week. The Scot is also considered a frontrunner for the Manchester United job whenever Sir Alex Ferguson decides to stand down and retire, but a question mark has always hung over his head in some quarters over whether Moyes is actually any good with money, let’s explore his record.
Everton midfielder Tim Cahill, who Moyes signed from Milwall in 2004 for just £1.5m and has since gone on to score 68 goals in 278 games for the club, had this to say before last season’s FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool at Wembley: “Everyone can put figures on the table, but our manager has got the best record in the world when it comes to spending money and what he does for the club. As players, we have to make sure that money is well spent.”
Cahill doesn’t stand alone in being brought in from the bargain bucket to fantastic success. Mikel Arteta moved to the club from Real Sociedad in 2005 after a succesful loan spell and went on to win the club’s Player of the Year award in his first two full seasons on Merseyside. He managed to crack in 35 goals in 209 appearances before a £10m move to Arsenal where he immediately set about bringing an element of control and composure to their midfield. An unqualified success.
Next up on the agenda is Joleon Lescott, a £5m punt from Wolves. It was considered a steep price at the time considering the centre-half missed all of Wolves 2003/4 Premier League campaign due to a serious knee injury after playing a large part in helping them get promoted. He proved to be an incredible signing, eventually moving on to Manchester City for £24m, a huge profit after just three seasons and is now representing England at Euro 2012, but not before he bagged the Fans Player of the Year award in 2008 and the Players’ Player of the Season in 2007 and 2008, notching 10 goals in his second season.
Leighton Baines is another player to have increased his value hugely during his time at the club. Bought by Moyes in 2007 from Wigan for £6m, he’s gone on to become a key player in the side, and has recently attracted the interest of Manchester United as they seek a long-term successor to Patrice Evra. With 12 assists in his last two seasons, and with a spot as Ashley Cole’s long-term deputy at international level, with 27 year-old left-back has been an excellent purchase.
Phil Jagielka has also turned out to be a bargain signing for Moyes, costing just £4m from relegated Sheffield United in 2007. He initially struggled after his big move, playing at both defensive midfield and at right back, but since moving back to his favoured centre-half position, he’s been nothing short of a revelation.
Add into the mix (it’s a long list this one) – Nigel Martyn, Brian McBride, Kevin Kilbane, Marcus Bent, Nikica Jelavic, Louis Saha, Sylvain Distin, Tim Howard, Phil Neville, Seamus Coleman, Joseph Yobo, Thomas Gravesen, Jermaine Beckford, Alan Stubbs, Tomasz Radzinski, Lee Carsley, Steven Pienaar, Apostolos Velios, Darron Gibson and Phil Neville among others and Moyes record is beyond reproach considering the resources that he has at his disposal, yet still the naysayers raise doubts.
Andy Johnson has been raised as an example of Moyes’ poor ability when he has more money to spend, but Everton signed him for £8.5m and still sold him on at a profit two seasons later to Fulham for £10.5m.
Yakubu arrived for £11.5m and looked money in the bank, particularly after an excellent first season where he struck 15 league goals and 21 across all competitions. He struggled with injuries and form the following three seasons and went on to contribute just 12 more goals in 68 appearances before a decent loan spell in the Championship with Leicester prompted Blackburn to pay around £1.5m for his services as he went onto enjoy a superb season which saw Steve Kean’s side ultimately relegated. Anyone who say that they foresaw Yakubu being a success again in the top flight is talking absolute nonsense; revisionist drivel that lacks any sort of context.
James Beattie, superb at Southampton, again disappointed after costing £6m and appeared to find his level that his weight gain deserved at Sheffield United after dropping down a division. Diniyar Bilyaletdinov showed flashes of his ability while in England but failed to settle and they still managed to recoup half the £10m they originally paid for him.
Per Kroldrup perhaps remains the most famous example, signed for £6m from Udinese in 2005, he was moved on swiftly to Fiorentina inside a year after rumours persisted that he had trouble heading a ball, usually a pre-requisite for an centre-half, particularly in the Premier League after a début horror-show in a 4-0 defeat to Aston Villa.
Marouane Fellaini may have arrived for a fee of £15m from Belgian side Standard Liege, but like a lot of deals today, that’s spread over five years. Can anyone honestly say that he doesn’t bring £3m’s worth of value to this Everton side each year? With Chelsea and Manchester United reportedly interested in him, he’d fetch well over £20m now and has to go down as yet another huge success.
There is no exact science to the transfer market, all you can hope for is that you get more right over the course of a sustained period than you get wrong. The fact of the matter now, though, is that Moyes’ successes in the market are essentially keeping Everton afloat. Selling a player for £15m+ each season helps them service their debt. It’s not a sustainable policy by any means and the club obviously require huge investment to take them to the next level, but it would simply not work as well as it does now without Moyes.
Any doubts raised about his ability to manage and spend large quantities of money is complete and utter folly. His record stands up when compared with anyone else’s in world football over the last decade. Everton have gone from relegation candidates, to mid-table also-rans to a guaranteed top-eight side during his decade in charge.
Recycling profit on players is a policy that Newcastle are receiving a lot of praise for recently, but Everton have been doing it for years. Anybody that can make a £3m profit on James McFadden, more of a professional moaner than a footballer, deserves our eternal respect. No manager will have a 100% success record when it comes to signing new players, but Moyes’ record is certainly better than most, if not all. He’s bought players that are worth £10m before but for a fraction of that actual price, if that’s not a barometer to his ability to spot talent, I don’t know what is. If he takes over either Tottenham or Manchester United in the future, there should be no concerns about the club’s future deals in the market, for they would be in extremely safe hands.