Marcel Brands has confirmed Everton spent just over £60m during the summer transfer window, but that they were able to land Colombian superstar James Rodriguez on a free.
The 29-year-old attacking midfielder completed his move from Real Madrid to Goodison Park in September, signing a two-year contract with the option for a further season.
Initially there was some confusion surrounding the deal with no fee reported, before word from Argentine side Banfield – who had a stake in any profit from the sale – claimed the deal was done on a free.
James Rodriguez was a big-name signing in the summer who Everton landed on a free
And this was confirmed during Everton’s Annual General Meeting on Thursday by Everton sporting director Brands.
As reported by the Liverpool Echo, Brands said: ‘It was one of the most difficult and weirdest transfer windows ever. The pandemic was clearly involved in this transfer window.
‘We finished the window with a squad of 27 players -a little bit more than originally planned.
‘We signed six new players. Three on a permanent transfer – Allan, Doucoure and Ben Godfrey. One on a free – James Rodriguez. One on a training compensation – Nkounkou. And one loan without a loan fee – Robin Olsen.’
Marcel Brands (left) confirmed the news during Everton’s Annual General Meeting
Brands said that the financial impact of the Covid pandemic forced the club to turn their back on a number of potential deals, with a move for now Arsenal centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes said to be among them.
He added the sale of nine players during the window, saw the club recoup £6.5m, leaving them with a total net spend of £54m.
Rodriguez has been an integral part of Carlo Ancelotti’s side since reuniting with his former Bayern Munich manager.
He has made a bright start with three goals and five assists in 14 games across all competitions.
Everton’s signings have made them a lot stronger and after 17 games they sit just four points off league leaders Manchester United in fifth position.