The process that took Rafa Benitez to Everton was an incredibly longwinded one.
The Spaniard revealed his desire to return to the Premier League back in March and, four months later, he’s had his wish fulfilled.
That said, if you told him at the beginning of the year that he’d be heading to Liverpool’s Merseyside rivals at Goodison Park, he’d have probably laughed.
Benitez has been in the Everton hotseat for 48 hours now and details are beginning to emerge surrounding why he wanted the job.
According to Ian McGarry of the Transfer Window Podcast, the 61-year-old was given assurances over the club’s transfer budget.
Speaking this week, McGarry said: “We understand that Benitez spoke to his predecessor Carlo Ancelotti before that meeting to ask what it had been like managing the Merseyside club, which was a positive conversation.”
The reporter added: “Benitez has been assured that he will have money to spend in order to improve the squad with the aim of playing European football and also being in the space where they are considered to be on the up in terms of challenging.”
This news should be music to the ears of Everton supporters and the club’s new manager.
The Toffees haven’t been afraid to lash out vast sums of money in years gone by, with a grand total of £448.98m spent since the 2017/18 campaign.
What’s happened with that money has been a rugged state of affairs. Despite Farhad Moshiri’s immense spending power, they’ve not been able to claim an elusive spot in the Champions League or even the Europa League.
Not since the days of David Moyes have the Toffees reached the qualification stages for Europe’s top club competition, so it will take a great deal of planning and work to get them back there. After all, it doesn’t matter how much you spend if the deals you’re concluding aren’t on top players.
A small improvement has been made in recent years with James Rodriguez, Ben Godfrey and Richarlison becoming regular starters and key players during Carlo Ancelotti’s tenure. However, you sense that Benitez will relish the opportunity to sink his teeth into a hefty budget as promised.
The Spaniard impressed at Newcastle by guiding them to promotion from the Championship but, once he was back in the top flight, Mike Ashley presented him with very limited funds, breaking promises in the process. Those were ultimately the main reasons behind Benitez’s departure from St James’ Park.
Consequently, the opportunity to spend more money at Everton should be enthralling for the new Toffees manager.
It should also be exciting news for supporters. If the money available is really going to be spent on players who can help them break into the top six, this could be a campaign to remember.
Perhaps this is the catalyst for supporters to back Benitez rather than grill him. They should be delighted with initial events following his appointment.