Everton in talks with US firm over much-needed investment

Farhad Moshiri watches Everton play - Alex Pantling/Getty Images
Farhad Moshiri watches Everton play - Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Everton have held preliminary talks about selling a minority stake in the club to US investment firm MSP Sports Capital.

An executive from the company attended the recent Premier League fixture between Everton and Southampton at Goodison Park. A much-needed cash investment, which would provide invaluable support for the £500 million stadium on Bramley-Moore Dock, is high on the agenda.

Majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri reiterated this week that he was looking to sell a stake in the club, rebuffing suggestions he was determined to complete the full sale.

The recency of conversations with the American entrepreneurs confirms that is the strategy. Moshiri is understood to be talking to several other interested parties as well as MSP.

MSP (Moorad Sports Partners) was founded in 2013 by former sports agent Jeff Moorad and American-Iranian businessman Jahm Najafi, who is also a minority investor in the Phoenix Suns basketball team.

Najafi was the group’s representative who visited Goodison Park, albeit that was a particularly difficult afternoon for the Merseyside club as Moshiri’s fellow directors chose not to attend after security advice.

The group has previously been linked with Tottenham Hotspur having held talks in 2015 with Daniel Levy about the funding of their new stadium.

Moorad made his name during the 1980s when he is said to be partially responsible for inspiring the character Jerry Maguire, famously played by Tom Cruise in the Hollywood movie.

MSP have a history of investing in sport, an impressive portfolio demonstrating why they would be attractive to Moshiri.

Najafi is vice-chairman of McLaren Racing and German club FC Augsburg are listed among those in which MSP have invested.

Ongoing conversations – first reported by Bloomberg as ‘preliminary’ – offer much-needed hope at the end of another turbulent week for the Merseyside club.

Moshiri is continuing his efforts to convince ex-Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa to take the vacant manager’s job after the sacking of Frank Lampard.

Bielsa has so far been reluctant to accept, but Moshiri wants to convince him he is the long-term solution.

If that fails, other candidates such as ex-Burnley manager Sean Dyche are expected to be discussed in more detail. Former Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl also has his admirers.

Everton need to decide quickly so that the next coach can prepare a side for the visit of Arsenal next weekend.

Discussions are also ongoing regarding the sale of winger Anthony Gordon. He has missed training for the last two days amid a £35 million bid from Newcastle United. Everton value Gordon above £50m and are waiting to see if Chelsea will make a higher offer.