Farhad Moshiri played a blinder in backing a permanent centre-back transfer last summer after Marcel Brands revealed the Everton owner’s role in Ben Godfrey’s move from Norwich City.
In quotes shared by the Liverpool Echo, Brands has told the Toffees’ USA Live event that Godfrey became the club’s number one target after the intervention of Moshiri.
The defender sealed a £20m move to Goodison Park at the start of October and has proven to be a key player for Carlo Ancelotti, with minutes across the Italian’s backline in 29 of a possible 32 games in all competitions.
Everton were not initially targeting a centre-back but were forced to make a quick change to their end-of-window plans in September after Mason Holgate sustained a toe injury and Jarrad Branthwaite tore ligaments in his ankle.
The Blues were unsure whether to add depth to Ancelotti’s unit with a temporary or permanent solution, but the influence of Moshiri led to a full-time deal being struck with Norwich for Godfrey.
“He was on our list already for two years, and when I had the discussion this summer with Carlo, the Chairman and our owner, we had to decide if we were looking for a centre-back on loan or if we want to buy,” Brands said.
“Our owner preferred to do a permanent, so Ben Godfrey was the first one on our list – and I think we did our homework well. He’s a great character, great athlete. He really adapted quickly to the level and to the club. I think the fans loved him from the beginning and that’s a good thing to see.”
While Everton may not have been sure whether to explore a loan deal or make a permanent centre-back signing last year before Moshiri stepped in, the Blues chief certainly played a blinder by backing a full-time deal being struck.
Everton were left in an uncomfortable situation in the summer 2019 market when Marco Silva sought to sign Kurt Zouma at the end of his season-long loan spell from Chelsea, having seen the Frenchman impress in royal blue but hold no option to retain him long-term.
Zouma eventually returned to Stamford Bridge after the southwest London natives slapped a minimum £30m asking price on the 26-year-old, and he has featured in 28 Premier League games last term and 19 so far this season.
The Toffees would have rued being in the same position with Godfrey had they only signed the centre-back on loan from Norwich, having seen the 23-year-old establish himself as a key part of Ancelotti’s defence.
The England under-21 international’s efforts reportedly led Tottenham Hotspur to launch an inquiry into why they passed on his potential availability, while many Everton supporters often laud the defender who Ancelotti has hailed as being “fantastic” and “tactically intelligent”.
With the manager also considering Godfrey to be the best of his current centre-back options and the one with the most potential, the Italian seemingly owes a lot of gratitude to Moshiri for backing Everton to make a permanent move for the 23-year-old last year.