So if the media are to be believed, John Stones is set for a £34 million move to Chelsea, James McCarthy is off to Spurs, with Kevin Mirallas joining West Ham. Hopefully most, if not all of these are unlikely to happen with Roberto Martinez determined to keep his Everton squad together. However with the Blues coming under increasing pressure in the transfer market and with the club still unable to provide the manager with sufficient funds to mount a serious challenge for honours, should the Everton board consider adopting the approach made successful by Atletico Madrid, buying cheap, training them up and selling at a significantly marked up price?
It would certainly be a controversial approach and one that would be unpopular in the short term, however it represents something the board do not appear to have at a present, a strategy to move the club forward.
The approach would see the likes of Stones sold for £34 million and the club re-investing the transfer fee in the playing squad, with 2 or 3 top class signings and the likes of Brendan Galloway promoted into the first team. The cycle would then start again with Galloway potentially moving on in 2 or 3 years time at a huge profit, generating further funds to invest in the team.
It is a risky strategy and one that could go spectacularly wrong. Southampton have adopted this approach in recent times. They came in for tremendous criticism last summer when their prized assets were sold off to the highest bidder, however 10 months later the board and management were lauded as they secured a top 7 finish and Europa League football. They have continued to sell this summer, with Clyne and Schneiderlin moving on to Liverpool and Manchester United respectively. The Saints will be under intense scrutiny again during the early months of the season with many waiting for them to fail, but if the scouting department unearth another team of gems they will continue to go from strength to strength.
Proof that the model works…Atletico Madrid! As recently as 2002 Atleti were in the second tier of Spanish football. Since then they have developed or bought exciting young players and sold them off at significant profit. Torres, Aguero, Falcao, Diego Costa and Turan to name a few and the result, two Europa League trophies, a Champions League final and a La Liga title.