Everton face a race against time if they want to join the European elite as proposed Champions League format changes will make upwards mobility almost “impossible” from 2024.
That is according to finance guru and new Football Insider columnist Kieran Maguire, speaking exclusively to correspondent Adam Williams with Everton outside the top four only on goal difference.
Everton have qualified for Europe’s premier competition only once since 1970, when David Moyes led the Toffees to a 4th place finish in the 2004-05 season.
With big-name signings like James Rodriguez and with Carlo Ancelotti in the dugout, they will be looking to rectify that in the coming years, if not this season itself.
But Maguire believes that the potential restructuring of European competition and the English football pyramid could make Everton’s task next to impossible if they don’t qualify for the Champions League by 2024.
“I don’t think it is achievable,” he told Football Insider.
“If we look at Manchester City and Chelsea, who are the two clubs that have broken through in England, it’s off the back of billionaire owners. Financial fair play means that even if you do have billionaire owners, there’s a limit on what they can do in terms of investing in the club.
“So it’s not impossible, but you are fighting against the system, and the system nearly always wins.
“The proposal for the changes of the Champions League from 2024 onwards would increase the number of group stage matches probably from six to 12, maybe even 16. That means much bigger revenues.
“If you’re not in that initial Champions League or European Super League or whatever it chooses to call itself, the additional money that will be made from that is going to make it impossible when combined with Financial Fair Play.
“Also if the Premier League is reduced, as proposed in Project Big Picture, from 20 teams to 18, that means there are fewer home fixtures for the likes of Everton and the other ones that want to break through.
“Project Big Picture is making sure the domestic clubs like Everton who want to challenge can’t challenge by decreasing their fixtures while increasing those on the other side of the divide.”
Everton owner Farhad Moshiri has made no secret of his aspirations for Everton to join the top table of European football.
Towards that end, a £700m stadium has been proposed as Everton look to take matchday revenue to the next level.