What the Everton dressing room know about takeover as star man issues stability plea

Everton's French midfielder #16 Abdoulaye Doucoure (R) celebrates with teammates after scoring his team first goal during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Sheffield United at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north west England on May 11, 2024. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /  (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Abdoulaye Doucoure celebrates with Seamus Coleman after his goal against Sheffield United that ensured Everton ran out 1-0 winners at Goodison Park -Credit:PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

Abdoulaye Doucoure admits Everton’s players are in the dark over the takeover situation at the club - but believes stability is needed at Goodison Park.

A deal to purchase Farhad Moshiri’s 94.1 percent stake in Everton was struck with 777 Partners last September but sign-off has still not taken place. And now uncertainty is growing over whether they can get the deal over the line.

777 have been unable to meet the Premier League’s criteria for allowing the takeover to proceed. These include the repayment last month of a £158m loan to MSP Sports Capital and two local businessmen, Andy Bell and George Downing.

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The ECHO understands that MSP are considering whether a takeover is viable, while the Everton Shareholders’ Association released a hard-hitting statement last week in which they demanded that Moshiri end the 'farce' of 777 Partners’ proposed takeover.

And speaking after the Blues' win over Sheffield United on Saturday afternoon, Doucoure, who scored the only goal of the game, admitted that he and his team-mates were not aware of what was going on off the pitch.

“To be honest, we don't know anything about that,” the midfielder said. “As a player, you just want to be on the pitch.

“There's so much to do on the pitch to keep the club in the Premier League, so all our focus was there. That's what we did best.”

Sean Dyche has also said that planning for next season is going to be difficult due to uncertainty over the club's takeover, while director of football Kevin Thelwell admitted players 'will be sold' this summer and has asked supporters for 'patience and understanding'.

But despite the off-pitch problems, Everton started the month of May knowing that their place in next season’s top-flight was already secured after four consecutive home wins in April. The achievement is all the more impressive given the club suffered two separate points deductions totalling eight points, and Doucoure admits he and his team-mates want stability as they begin to think about next season.

"Obviously, we want more stability in the club and as a player, I just want to enjoy it, to play free and win games,” he replied when asked what the starting point for the club is going forward. “I think we did very well from that point of view. Obviously, there was a lot of noise outside the club, but between the players, we just want to focus on the pitch. I think we did really well.

“As a player, you just want to have stability, as a manager as well. But as a player, you just want to enjoy, want to come back for pre-season very strong and keep winning games.

“I think we stuck together, we knew a stronger group was going to stay in the Premier League as we did last season.

“We did the same this season. It was different circumstances, but I think we worked very hard to get over the line again.”

Doucoure’s header against the Blades was his first Premier League goal since December; despite this, no Everton player has scored more league goals than the Malian this term, and he admits he is enjoying linking up with Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

He said: “He [Calvert-Lewin] gave me two assists today. The first one, okay, I didn't score, but the second one was a bit easier.

“I enjoy playing with Dom. He's a very good player, very good to link with. I'm happy with my seventh goal of the season and I want to score more.

“We need a very good striker here at Everton Football Club and Dominic is one of them. I think he did really well in the last few games and he got back on the score sheet as well.

“Today he gave me an assist, so I'm very happy for him and to have him in the team.”