The battle to avoid relegation to the Championship (and avert an immediate impact of £ 50 million) is a tripartite affair.
Everton and Burnley will face Crystal Palace and Aston Villa on Thursday night, before Sunday’s final day, when Leeds can also speak.
Sportsmail he looks at Leeds, Everton and Burnley and explores how well equipped they are to cope with the downturn – and avoid financial Armageddon …
Everton is one of three teams trying to avoid a catastrophic relegation this year
Jesse Marsch’s team in Leeds has only one match left, while their rivals have two matches left
He is heading in a very dangerous direction with fat salaries and a new £ 450 million stadium on the way.
Regular members of Goodison said for years that following Everton should come with a health warning, but the risk had never been so serious before.
How not to run a football club? The Blue Half of Merseyside writes the book, and the final chapter may be the worst of the series.
Getting to this stage – where the unthinkable descent is dangerously close to becoming a reality – has not come cheap. In 2020-21, they lost GBP 120.9 million – that’s GBP 331,232.88 every day. The year before it was £ 140 million. £ 111.8 million the year before. and for what? An unpleasant, fragile group that Frank Lampard tries to push across the finish line to safety.
In January, £ 28 million was spent for outlaw defenders Nathan Patterson and Vitalii Mykolenko. And yet Seamus Coleman, signed for £ 60,000 from Sligo Rovers by David Moyes in 2009, continues to receive the game every week.
Alex Iwobi moves to Everton for £ 28 million from Arsenal in one of many big money signatures
Does that sound bizarre? It will get better. At the time, the £ 28 million paid to Arsenal for Alex Iwobi seemed to be around £ 20 million too.
The initiates say the weekly salary of the former gunner would make you cry. To be fair to Iwobi, who can play a key role in keeping the Toffees up, is far from the only one to whom it applies.
And what about the special case of Anwar El Ghazi?
In January, after losing Lucas Digne to Aston Villa for a generous £ 25 million, Everton borrowed the wing head in the opposite direction. He is believed to have paid his entire weekly salary of £ 40,000 plus a substantial loan fee. El Ghazi played for the big old team in a total of 11 minutes.
There are high wages everywhere and this area will undoubtedly focus on the strategic review, the conclusions of which are being implemented. The key question is whether the lucrative contracts handed out contain any form of reduction in the decline, and it is said that they do not.
Finding a customer for many members of an incredibly inefficient and overpaid team will be almost impossible, and the biggest problem the bean leaders will face in the full summer will be wages.
Introducing a similar level of spending in a championship with drastically reduced incomes would mean that a proud club would go in a very dangerous direction.
No matter which division they are in, expect attempts to improve the production line through the club academy.
Then there is Alisher Usman’s problem. The oligarch is a close associate of the majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri, and after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the club suspended all their sponsorship with Russian companies supported by Usman, which cost costs.
And then there’s the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock for £ 450 million, which has to be paid, albeit with a fixed price contract. No pressure, Frank…
Everton suspended all its sponsorship with Russian companies supported by Alisher Usmanov
There is also a new £ 450 million stadium in Bramley-Moore Dock, for which the Toffees have to pay
He should be able to ride in a storm. There are descent clauses in place, salaries will be reduced … but no redundancies.
Listen to the champagne corks crackling in the accounting department at EFL headquarters if Leeds returns to the championship after two years in the top competition. Huge levels of support for the Yorkshire Club mean a giant – and lucrative – second-level television audience and do no harm to officials as they chase cash for new broadcasts.
Such large numbers also show why Leeds should be able to ride in a storm armed with parachutes. Season tickets for next season are already sold out, 25,000 have been collected and another 50,000 have been withdrawn as members. The club will be sure to sell out every home game on Elland Road with a capacity of 38,000 seats.
Kalvin Phillips will be one of the Leeds stars who are likely to leave if they relegate to the division
It is understood that there will be no redundancies, which will relieve employees. And although no one wants to step down, Leeds is likely to be in a decent financial position because he has structured all first team contracts to include relegation clauses.
Sportsmail understands that most players would see a 50% salary reduction, while others have experienced a 30% decline. Commercial revenue would hit, but the club would be the strongest in terms of revenue outside the Premier League. In fact, a sponsorship deal has already been reached on the front of the T-shirt that would put them behind all the rivals in EFL.
Longer-term projects, such as stadium extensions, may need to be sidelined. And plans to sell the club will also recede into the background. After Andrea Radrizzani did the hard work to get them out of the decades of the gloomy situation in the football league, he would not be able to achieve the price he would look for with the club in the second stage.
Expect Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha to leave. Given that Englishman Phillips is a hometown in the Premier League, he is unlikely to pass on his talent to suitors such as Aston Villa and West Ham.
Raphinha’s star striker could also be sold if Leeds fails to avoid falling into the championship
But if Leeds enters the championship, these options suddenly become much more attractive. And don’t rule out moving north to Newcastle.
Due to the reduction of accounts, it is assumed that any income from transfers would go directly to the war chest with the club, which would try to return on the first try.
Although not a disaster, Jesse Marsch is expected to ensure that their stay in the championship is short.
They should be able to exchange paths from the problems of selling players.
There are two ways to look at what the descent would mean for the cross-country Lancashire Club and its new American owners.
The terms of their leverage in December 2020 (assuming Glazer-lite) are now clear and at first glance so alarming that gamblers reach for a bottle of gin at The Royal Dyche, a pub in the shadow of Turf Moor named after a popular ex-manager.
Along with the club’s own money, ALK Capital took out a £ 65 million loan to help finance the £ 170 million deal. The loan was to be repaid in 2025. However, the agreement remains in effect as long as Burnley remains in the Premier League. If they do not, they will have to repay a ‘substantial part’ shortly after the end of this season.
Chief Burnley, Mike Jackson (center), has two more games to try to keep the club up
Not surprisingly, when the team under Sean Breath showed little sign of recovery, the owners decided to get rid of it.
It is not a situation that we might be envious of and have caused panic in certain areas, but they should be able to get out of trouble – thanks in large part to the way the club is structured.
There are assets for sale. Winger Dwight McNeil should raise about £ 20 million and English goalkeeper Nick Pope would go for a similar amount.
Maxwel Cornet cost about £ 13 million, but the contract has a £ 17 million release clause, which you would expect after a half-decent first year in top competition.
The club would also be sure to get back the £ 15 million they spent on the January increment of Wout Weghorst and, if necessary, could also collect Charlie Taylor’s defender for a similar amount. The above-mentioned summer sales would offset the installment and provide the new manager – the favorite for this job, Vincent Kompany – with funds for substitute players.
The club would also be sure to get back the £ 15 million spent by striker Wout Weghorst
This is as close to a blank canvas as you can for Kompany or whoever he settles on.
While it will hurt to see James Tarkowski leave for nothing, others – such as veterans Phil Bardsley, Erik Pieters and Aaron Lennon – will make room on the team and cut wage costs when their contracts expire this summer.
Perhaps surprisingly, the sale of season tickets for another campaign exceeded last year’s 12,000.
Whether he descends or not, it will be a huge summer for the club. Above all, recruitment will be key to ensuring that Clarets continue to outperform.