Ronald Koeman at Everton the latest step in Farhad Moshiri revolution
Ronald Koeman's arrival at Everton marks the start of a new era at Goodison Park and possibly the end of over two decades of waiting to become part of the established elite in England.
The Dutchman, prised from Southampton for a reported compensation payment of £5 million, will earn £6m a season and according to ESPN FC sources close to the club, he will have a budget of around £100m to spend on players.
Decades of penury at Everton look to be at an end. Billionaire Farhad Moshiri, set to increase his stake in the club beyond the 49.9 percent he secured in March, is ready to reveal his ambitions by opening the purse strings in a manner not seen since the mid-1990s, when the club signed Premier League stars like Andrei Kanchelskis from Manchester United for £5m and Gary Speed from Leeds for £3.5m. Since then, empty pockets have halted the club's ability to compete.
That transfer kitty may not even include funds that may be generated by the possible sale of defender John Stones and striker Romelu Lukaku, who could fetch around £100m between them. The club's failure to qualify for European football after finishing 12th last season has left them vulnerable to key player exits.
Whatever happens with Lukaku and Stones, Everton are working towards ensuring their top talent stays for longer on Merseyside. Were a talent like Wayne Rooney to appear now, he would not have to be cashed in like he was when Manchester United came calling in 2004. The end game is to restore the club to its former prominence as one of English football's historic institutions, but the first stage will be to take it beyond current peers like Southampton.
Koeman led the Saints to sixth last season, having improved on seventh the year before. Such positions were considered par for the course during David Moyes' 11-year stewardship, and Roberto Martinez led the club to the brink of Champions League qualification at the end of the 2013-14 season, only for his lack of defensive organisation to effect diminishing returns of 11th and then last season's disappointments. The Spaniard was removed ahead of the final match of the campaign.
In Koeman, Everton secured their top target of a list that contained Sevilla manager Unai Emery, Frank de Boer, who recently stepped down as Ajax boss, Manuel Pellegrini, fresh from being replaced at Manchester City by Pep Guardiola, and Moyes, believed to have been favoured by chairman Bill Kenwright for a return.
That was an all-star cast to reflect the cachet of managing in the cash-rich Premier League, plus recognition of Everton's ambitions. Koeman is a manager whose personal targets include returning to Barcelona, the Spanish giant for whom he scored the goal that won the club's first ever European Cup in 1992. When Luis Enrique was faltering in his early months in charge at Camp Nou, Koeman was among the list of suitors linked with a possible vacancy but the Catalan club's continuing success has closed off that avenue for now.
Everton, after discussions took place with Koeman and agent Rob Jansen, have been able to convince the 53-year-old that Goodison is the next step for someone who has previously managed such elite names as Ajax, Benfica and Valencia.
Arguments have raged over whether Everton could these days call itself a bigger club than Southampton, but Koeman's decision was compelling evidence in the debate. Southampton, with whom relations had not always been plain-sailing for the Dutchman, were not going to alter their model of buying and blooding talent to eventually sell to loftier concerns.
Last season's relegation of Aston Villa and Newcastle United, two further peer clubs of Everton during the Premier League era, has shown that teams who settle for the status quo put themselves in peril. Both paid for the slashing of their spending and the belief they were too big to fail. Such a plight faced Everton if they had continued down the road of cutting cloth. It only takes poor decision-making, as happened at both Villa and St James' Park, for relegation to become unavoidable.
Admittedly, Moshiri's cash injection will happen at a time when Premier League clubs are flush with funds like never before, with a new TV deal meaning even the club that finishes bottom guaranteed £100m, so Everton will not be able to surge into contention in the manner that Chelsea and Manchester City once did when they were taken over.
However, the addition of Koeman could be seen as the first step in a new era in which Everton, the "grand old club", as the Goodison terrace anthem goes, might again be able to start competing more consistently towards the top of the Premier League table.
John Brewin is a staff writer for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JohnBrewinESPN.