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Everton takeover: John Textor explains vision for future as 'front-runner' claim made

With 777 Partners’ proposed acquisition of Everton now unlikely to happen it has been reported that John Textor is now pushing to buy the club. But what is the strategy of the current Crystal Palace part-owner?

Everton announced on September 15 that 777 Partners had signed an agreement with majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri to acquire his entire 94.1% stake in the club and that closing of the transaction was expected to occur in the fourth quarter of 2023. However, over eight months on, the Miami-based private investment firm, who have been dogged by payment issues at clubs they do own (Standard Liege in Belgium and Vasco da Gama in Brazil) and hit by legal challenges, have still yet to be given the green light on the purchase by the five members of the Premier League board.

The technicalities look set to end on May 31, the group’s share purchase agreement deadline, with the 777 deal now looking dead in the water and there seems little appetite for Josh Wander and company among Everton’s supporters – the Fan Advisory Board questioned the suitability of 777 in a virtual meeting with Moshiri, who was not in the UK, last week.

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Sky Sports claims that Textor, who holds a 45% stake in Crystal Palace, is now the front-runner to acquire Moshiri’s majority shareholding and it is likely that an agreement with the MSP Sports Capital group, who have already invested in Everton, and Moshiri would fund the club short-term until Textor is in a position to complete his purchase.

Textor doesn’t often speak publicly but three months ago the BBC published an interview he gave to Alex Howell which gave an insight into some of his thoughts on football ownership. Like 777 Partners, Textor is a multi-club owner and he believes that requires lots of joined-up thinking.

He said: “I don't see acquisitions as the business model. What we do, my job - and I'm not a football guy - I watch hundreds of games a year from the grass and on film.

“My job is to force loving collaboration on all our people. If my scout in Brazil is not really close with my scout in France, then I have the wrong scouts.

“We're a very scout-centric organisation. We use data to help break down games and players who we want to go see.

“I want eyes on the grass, on the ball, on the boy. We think a global footprint of talent can compete with unlimited money.

“Why does everybody say that the City Football Group is the best multi-club model out there? They're not. Man City is the best football team out there, with an incredible management team, incredible people, but they struggle like everyone else.

“They are wonderful people, they're a great organisation. People say they're the best multi-club model out there because they're Manchester City. And I'm Molenbeek, Crystal Palace and Lyon.

“We probably have done more collaboration between our clubs. I was able to bring in incredible reinforcements in the January transfer window [to injury-hit Belgian club Molenbeek] from Crystal Palace, from Lyon and from Botafogo and we might just survive.”

During his interview with the Athletic over the weekend, Textor proclaimed: “Everton represents the best of English football: the struggles, the glory, the want. I love that it’s out of London. Everybody should want to buy Everton right now.” He had hinted on his plans for the future with what he told the BBC.

He said: “No, I don't want to run [Palace] one day. I don't even like running the clubs I have.

“I'm a fan, we have good football people in place. One of my favourite people on the planet is Dougie Freedman, everybody knows that.

“The only place where I think I would like to see more collaboration is when Palace is struggling with those reserves and struggling with injuries and I have a boat-load of athletes.

“I'm in it for the long game. Is there a possibility that if we can't achieve greater collaboration that we would consider selling our interest in Palace? It's possible.

“Would we consider buying more? I think we'd prefer that.

“This is a message to the fans again. They have a club where everybody who owns stock wants to own more of it.

“Why are they complaining? Look, people deserve to complain when they’re losing games, but generally sometimes they don't want to believe their own eyes.”