Marcel Brands has left his position as Everton’s director of football after coming under severe pressure amid the sense of crisis enveloping the club.
The Dutchman has been blamed for a series of expensive transfer deals that have simply not worked with Everton languishing in 16th place in the Premier League, earning just two points from a possible 24. There had been speculation that Rafael Benitez’s might be replaced but while the manager is also under intense scrutiny, and has to quickly turn around the team’s fortunes, it is understood he continues to receive backing. For now.
Brands departure may, in fact, sharpen the focus further on the former Liverpool manager who was a controversial appointment but has also made it clear he is unhappy with aspects of the club and has carried out a review. It has already led to the departure of head of medical, Danny Donachie.
The crisis at Everton is summed up by the fact that Brands only signed a new three-year contract in April but, over the weekend, has agreed a severance package with majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri ahead of Monday’s vital home match against Arsenal. Brands has left with immediate effect and it is understood that he felt it was the best thing for him to leave.
It is also understood that Everton will eventually seek to replace Brands but, for the time being, it would appear his departure will strengthen Benitez’s power base at the club he joined in the summer ahead of the January transfer window. He will hope to not only have funds available but control over who is bought and sold.
However Benitez is also in a difficult position because while there is sympathy towards him from Moshiri and the club’s board that will not last if results do not improve.
It is also unclear just how much control Brands exerted at Everton where, despite his role, he often appeared a marginalised figure especially when it came to the appointment of managers and some signings with Moshiri accused of interfering.
Brands, who previously worked as the director of football at PSV Eindhoven took over from Walsh in 2018, but his role has been questioned. More than £500 million has been spent at Everton since Moshiri gained control in 2016 and although much of that was spent under Brands’ predecessor he has come under scrutiny for a number of underwhelming transactions. It is estimated that around £300 million has been spent during his time at the club with failures including the £25 million spent on midfielder Jean-Phillipe Gbamin.
Everton have not won a league game since beating Norwich City on September 25 and, after Arsenal, they have away games against Crystal Palace and Chelsea and are just five points outside the relegation places.
Brands was in the line of fire after last week’s Merseyside derby defeat at home to Liverpool. One irate supporter targeted him by shouting “What do you do, Brands?” adding: “Get out, get out of this club. Absolute s—-. Did you recruit them?” Brands reacted by stopping and responding: “Do you think it’s only the players?”