Soccer

Everton dealt January blow as two transfer staff quit out of loyalty to axed Marcel Brands

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Two key Everton staff members have joined Marcel Brands out of the exit door just three weeks before the January transfer window. Brands left his role as director of football after losing a power struggle with Rafa Benitez, who he didn’t consider the right candidate to replace Carlo Ancelotti.

The Dutchman joined Everton in 2018 and signed a new three-year contract in June but negotiated his departure on Sunday amid backlash from frustrated fans.

Supporters at Goodison Park aimed ferocious abuse at Brands following last week’s 4-1 defeat in the Merseyside derby.

But owner Farhad Moshiri has publicly backed Benitez, who Brands struggled to work with behind the scenes.

And according to The Athletic, head of recruitment and development Gretar Steinsson and scouting manager Dan Purdy have followed him in cutting ties with Benitez and the club.

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Both figures were closely associated with Brands and have resigned out of loyalty.

Brands appointed Steinsson at the Toffees in 2018, with the ex-Bolton Wanderers defender initially acting as chief European scout.

Purdy joined the set-up a year later as a performance analyst before quickly becoming manager of scouting and operations.

Their sudden exits could halt Everton’s January transfer plans, although it seems Benitez plans to take charge of dealings.

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After Everton’s win over Arsenal on Monday, Benitez stated he was confident of overseeing successful business with the help of ‘people in the club’.

He told Sky Sports: “It means we have to prepare now for the future. It is short-term and January.

“Then we have to think long-term. The club has changed managers in the past, and now they want to do something long-term with a clear idea of what we want to achieve.

“With my experience and the people we have in the club I think we can guide things in the direction that will hopefully be the right one.”

Then asked whether he would have more control over transfers following Brands’ exit, Benitez replied: “You can say it in this way.

“People that are working now can give us all the information we need to make sure we make the right decisions.

“I was working for years with a director of football. It is not an issue. Now we have to think about the future and we have a situation where we must take responsibility.”

Steinsson and Purdy were likely some of the ‘people’ Benitez referred to, meaning their untimely departures could throw a spanner in the works as he prepares for a crucial transfer period.

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