Soccer-Mentality more critical than price tag in bid to beef up Everton -Benitez

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FILE PHOTO: Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez
FILE PHOTO: Britain Soccer Football – Wolverhampton Wanderers v Newcastle United – Sky Bet Championship – Molineux – 11/2/17 Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Ed Sykes

November 6, 2021

(Reuters) – Everton do not have enough money to sign top quality reinforcements in January and will have to depend on bargain buys with the right mentality to be a fit at the Merseyside club, manager Rafa Benitez has said.

Everton, 10th in the league after three straight defeats, were frugal in their transfer spending before the season, laying out just 1.7 million pounds ($2.3 million) on Demarai Gray, while fellow winger Andros Townsend was signed for free.

The club managed to offload high-earning Colombian midfielder James Rodriguez but, without enough to spend, Benitez said loan options could be a possibility after a discussion with the club’s director of football, Marcel Brands.

“I think we will have some money to spend, but I don’t think that will be too much,” Benitez told reporters ahead of Sunday’s home game against Tottenham Hotspur.

“Maybe we can find the right players for us. It doesn’t matter the price, it’s more about the mentality. The fans know the kind of players that you need here, the kind of character that you need and the quality that you are looking for.

“If we can buy them, fine. If not, we can loan them and make sure that they can stay here with us in the future.”

Everton’s majority owner, Farhad Moshiri, had loosened the purse strings in recent years, with the club spending more than 400 million pounds on incoming transfers in a bid to be more competitive under different managers.

“You cannot criticise him for spending money. We have to be sure we are spending the money properly and the team will be stronger,” Benitez added.

“We have to be sure we improve things that maybe were not right before. If not, then you cannot justify why we were where we were and why we are where we are, after spending the fourth most (of Premier League clubs) in the last five years.”

($1=0.7414 pounds)

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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