Everton manager Rafael Benitez has revealed he was NOT forced by Farhad Moshiri into signing Anwar El-Ghazi, who joined the club on-loan from Aston Villa
- Everton secured their third addition capturing Anwar El-Ghazi from Aston Villa
- Rafael Benitez insists the move will provide cover for the injured Alex Iwobi
- The 26-year-old could make his debut in the clash with Norwich on Saturday
Everton’s transfer policy under the Iranian billionaire has been chaotic and El-Ghazi hadn’t even featured in Benitez’s recruitment plans for this window until his name was mentioned when Aston Villa opened negotiations over Lucas Digne.
Benitez met Moshiri on Thursday at the club’s Finch Farm training base for lunch, during which time they discussed future targets and the direction of a season during which Everton have struggled desperately for form. It is imperative they beat Norwich today.
Everton boss Rafael Benitez says he was not forced into signing winger Anwar El-Ghazi
The 26-year-old joined the Blues from Aston Villa on-loan until the end of the season
El Ghazi, who will wear the No 34 shirt at Goodison Park, will cover for the injured Alex Iwobi
‘To be fair, with the Covid situation, with injuries and also (Alex) Iwobi away from here for nearly one month, it was an opportunity,’ said Benitez. ‘If there is a player on loan, with quality, that wants to come and who wants to prove himself, then maybe it is a win-win situation. That was the idea.
‘I was talking with the player to be sure he was keen to come, and he has the desire to do well for us, and he was quite positive, In the end, hopefully he can improve our squad. He has his commitment and wanted to come. That was, for me, the key part of the negotiation.’
Everton fans remain, at best, ambivalent towards Benitez. The more vocal want Moshiri to make a change, after a run in which they have collected just six points from the last 36. Everything points, though, to the club’s major shareholder sticking by the former Liverpool boss.
‘I will not say it was a meeting,’ said Benitez. ‘Mr Moshiri and myself were together, having lunch, talking about what we did in the transfer window, what we would like to do, if it is possible, what we would like to do in the future, the stadium, so a lot of things about the future of the club.
‘It was quite positive. Normally he is quite positive. Normally any owner talks to the manager and it was a nice conversation. The main thing for us, for anyone as a manager, is to win games and do well.’
Toffees Iranian owner Farhad Moshiri has held positive talks with Benitez earlier this week
Manager Benitez is an unpopular figure amongst Everton fans who want him to leave the club
Benitez, who is confident Dominic Calvert-Lewin is close to recapturing his full fitness after a season decimated by injury, added: ‘In terms of what we have done, they can see a lot of things we are improving for the present and for the future.
‘At the same time we want to win and have chances to do it. They realise, he knows that we have key players injured and knows these players are coming back and they will need some time. He is quite positive in terms of, if we do well now, our future will be bright.’