Everton will not be forced into selling any key players despite the club’s ongoing sponsorship crisis, according to BBC Radio 5 Live pundit Danny Mills.
The Lowdown: Sponsorship blows
The Athletic recently reported that Everton’s shirt sponsorship deal with Cazoo will end after the current season, with the club exercising a break clause written into the contract. This deal is reportedly worth around £10m per year, so it seems like positive steps have been made in their search of a replacement.
Whilst it was the Toffees’ choice to exercise the clause, it has not come at a good time for the club, who now face commercial challenges following the suspension of three of their other sponsorship deals.
Earlier this week, it was announced that Everton had suspended their dealings with Russian companies USM Holdings, MegaFon, and Yota. These deals were associated with Uzbek businessman Alisher Usmanov, whose assets were frozen by the European Union on Tuesday and the UK on Thursday.
With all that taken into account, it could result in an annual shortfall of close to £30m.
The Latest: Mills’ claim…
Despite the off-field turmoil and the team’s battle with Premier League relegations, Mills – who regularly appears on BBC Radio 5 Live – doesn’t believe that Everton will be forced into selling some of their most prized assets.
When asked by Football Insider if those circumstances would prompt a fire-sale of star players at Goodison Park, the former England defender replied: “No. I think there will be an awful lot of this and it will take a long time to unravel. We’re talking 18 months, two years.
“Everybody is doing what they see right at the moment and rightly so, disassociating themselves with certain things.
“But you have to go down and start looking at every single investment at every single club, every single board member and there’s probably a lot more with links to Russia than you think and some we’re not aware with.
“It’s easy with Everton and USM as one of the main sponsors, you can see that, it’s quite loud and proud. But there will be others in there at different clubs.
“I don’t think it will be a massive issue. We’re all sympathetic to the situation in Ukraine. Clubs are doing what they think is best for the here and now.”
The Verdict: Everton’s relegation battle
Everton currently sit 17th in the Premier League table as they prepare for tonight’s clash against Tottenham. Despite the Toffees losing three of Lampard’s first four league games in charge, they are not in as dire a situation as the table might look on first glance.
Everton are just one point and one place behind Leeds with three games in hand, and five points behind Brentford in 15th with four games in hand. Should the Toffees put those extra fixtures to good use, the gap to the bottom three would look a lot healthier.
This could have a massive bearing on whether or not Everton will need to sell some of their star players to balance the books. Multiple sales would seem inevitable if they do drop out of the Premier League, especially with the club already having issues keeping within Financial Fair Play requirements.
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