Farhad Moshiri

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Usmanov buys first option on naming rights for Everton stadium

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LIVERPOOL, England — Russian businessman Alisher Usmanov has paid Everton $39 million to secure an exclusive option on naming rights for the Premier League club’s proposed new stadium.

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The 66-year-old Usmanov, who sold his 30 percent stake in Arsenal for $715 million in August 2018, is a long-time business partner of Everton’s majority shareholder, Farhad Moshiri, and already sponsors the club’s training ground.

His holding company, USM, now has an agreement in place for first option of naming rights, at current market rates, once the venue at Bramley-Moore Dock is near completion. It is scheduled to be completed by 2023.

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The latest investment by Usmanov was announced by Everton as the club published its accounts for 2018-19, showing a loss of $145 million despite posting the second-highest revenues in its history, of $245 million.

As Everton discusses Silva’s fate, how has it gone so poorly?

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Patience is thin with Marco Silva at Everton.

The Portuguese manager saw his record as Toffees boss just two matches above .500 after a 2-0 loss to promoted Norwich City on Sunday, with home fans singing “You’re getting sacked in the morning” to Silva after the match.

The BBC reports that “major shareholder Farhad Moshiri held talks with fellow directors, including chairman Bill Kenwright and director of football Marcel Brands, after the game to discuss the growing crisis.”

The Toffees are 4W-2D-7L this season despite not a crazy relaxed early season fixture list which has yet to see their first meetings of the season versus Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Leicester City, and derby rivals Liverpool.

Those matches are all coming in the next five weeks. So in some ways it doesn’t feel like the meetings are abroad whether to let him go, rather when to let him go. Do you make a new or interim manager sort this out inside the fire, hoping for a point or three, or let Silva try to swim through a swift current?

There are myriad reasons for their struggles. The biggest issue seems to be a bizarre ongoing reality in which the Toffees barely concede any shots — their 8.5 shots conceded per game is less than any team not named Man City — but almost all of them are deadly ones.

Complicating things is Fortune not going their way, as the Expected Goals Table says Everton has scored 5.5 less goals than expected, while conceding 5 more! Considering the chances created and conceded, Understat says Everton should’ve won five games they lost or drew (It also says they were fortunate to get all the points from Watford and Bournemouth).

Silva finished 8th in his first season in charge, with 15 wins, 11 draws, and 14 losses in league play. He finished the season on a bright run, with wins over Chelsea, Arsenal, and Manchester United dotting a 5W-2D-1L finish, and the Toffees would’ve finished with two draws in the Merseyside Derby if not for Divock Origi‘s shocking winner last December.

This season saw the Toffees strengthen their roster and handed that terrific early run of fixtures. What Silva’s done with it is go 4-2-7 while losing to all three promoted sides. That’s not a slight to those sides, two of whom look particularly decent, but this is not what was supposed to happen at this Everton.

Going back to these next five matches, a run which also adds a home League Cup quarterfinal against Leicester City, the Toffees can get something done and maybe a new manager bounce could play a role. Silva leaving will risk upsetting one of Everton’s only effective players in Richarlison, but how many Toffees might be buoyed by something new?

Hard to say. Even one win over Sheffield United, Norwich City, or Aston Villa would have the Toffees two points back of fifth. Now, they are legitimately staring down a 15-point menu which could reasonably yield zero points (though you’d reckon the inconsistent but talented Toffees will find a win or couple of draws in there, as one of their best performances this year came against Man City).

Complicating matters is the hierarchy’s very public and long pursuit of Silva. Surely they don’t want to have all the drama with Watford, which played a huge role in Silva’s firing from Vicarage Road, to look like a fruitless pursuit.

And can Toffees fans be sure that their leadership will find a promising figure, and not just a familiar retread like Sam Allardyce or David Moyes who will find a result or two and inevitable improvement to forsake the club’s future as a walking shepard’s tone in the short-term?

Ultimately, there may be reason enough via statistics to say that the club’s problems has been its gaffes, and that Silva might be able to right the ship. But in these managerial times, it’s more likely they find a new man to take the wheel. And, mark our words, be careful not to assume the new man has “fixed things” unless things go remarkably better. Still, given the schedule ahead and the weight of one of the world’s most charged derbies, it seems a change is due.

PHOTOS: Everton unveil plans for glittering waterfront stadium

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Everton unveiled on Thursday the club’s latest plans and vision for a brand new 52,000-seat, $620-million stadium at the Bramley-Moore Dock site on the banks of the River Mersey in north Liverpool.

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The stadium’s north and south stands have been designed to easily accommodate the return of safe-standing, should it be deemed legal by safety officials in the UK in the coming years. The south stand will house 13,000 Toffees fans, and all stands “will be as close to the action as regulations permit.”

(Photo credit: evertonfc.com)
(Photo credit: evertonfc.com)

Everton did not reveal a proposed timetable for when stadium construction might begin, let alone when it might be completed. The Guardian is reporting that the 2023-24 season is the current target date. The club is yet to submit a pair of applications — a detailed application for Bramley-Moore Dock and an outline application for Goodison Park — to UK officials, but they expect to do so before the end of 2019.

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From the club’s official release:

“The concepts show a stunning brick, steel and glass design which takes its inspiration from the historic maritime and warehouse buildings nearby. The structure combines the historic and the modern, with the brick base of the stadium incorporating a subtle nod to Goodison Park’s famous Archibald Leitch lattice work while the dynamic roof structure made from steel and glass gives the stadium a modern finish.”

“The Club also used the event to reveal its plans for the redevelopment of Goodison Park to create a range of community assets such as homes, health, education and enterprise amenities as well as the introduction of public space which will include a lasting tribute to the Club’s current home of 127 years.”

Silva confident of Moshiri’s backing with young Everton squad

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Farhad Moshiri spent more than six month chasing Marco Silva before he was named Everton boss last summer, therefore the Portuguese manager must surely be safe despite his side’s recent rough patch of results… right? Right?

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Sure, the Toffees have won just three of their last 12 games in the Premier League — plus an exit from the FA Cup at the hands of Championship side Millwall — but Moshiri, Everton’s ambitious billionaire owner, isn’t about to fire his fourth manager in 32 months’ time… is he? Is he?

For what it’s worth, Silva believes he has Moshiri’s long-term backing after the braintrust made the decision to prioritize the development and integration of young players — many of whom have come through the club’s youth academy — last summer. Silva insists that he and Moshiri have a good working relationship built upon constant communication and the exchange of ideas — quotes from the Guardian:

“When we have the possibility to meet we do. When not, we speak on the phone. I know what his feelings are. I know what is our project also when he spoke about the situation with the young players. We decided at the beginning of the season that some of them would be part of our squad.”

“You cannot achieve your goal with just young players. We have to see them growing in a stable, mature squad. I believe in our squad, I believe in what we are doing and I believe in our young players also. We took one decision at the start of the season and in the January market also. We didn’t go in the market because we took a decision and now is not the moment to go in a different way.

“Everyone thinks about Everton spending a lot of money, but if you look at last season you can see how different it is to this season. The club spent more than double last season (compared to this season) and in the January market signed two new players. This season we did it differently. We took a decision as a football club, and the manager is always involved. We took it together and we are together in this project. Football will always be about the results because if you are winning and taking good results, you are not asking me about the young players.”

While there’s no reason to believe anything Silva said in the above quotes is anything but 100 percent true, he does come off as a bit defensive in the end. Unfortunately for Silva, his side still must face each of the top-six sides — Manchester City (Wednesday, Watch live, 3 p.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com), Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur — over their final 13 games of the season.

Moshiri increases Everton stake, plans more by the summer

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Farhad Moshiri has been the leading shareholder of Everton since he purchased 49.9 of the Premier League club’s shares in February 2016.

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The Iranian businessman has invested heavily in the first-team squad (more than $400 million on transfers over five windows) while forging full-speed ahead to build a new $385-million stadium on the Mersey riverfront. In short, he has done everything he promised 31 months ago — everything that the majority of new owners promise upon takeover, but oftentimes fail to do.

Thus, it comes as little surprise that Moshiri jumped at the chance to snap up an additional 18.7 percent of the shareholding, bringing his total to 68.6 percent. In an official statement, the club revealed that Moshiri “is expected to increase to 77.2 percent no later than July 2019.”

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The only — but key — piece of the puzzle missing during Moshiri’s time in charge of the league is, of course, a trophy. Having finished seventh and eighth in the two full seasons since he bought the club, the Toffees continue to be just as consistent — but, ultimately inconsequential — as they have been for the last dozen years.