Everton continue talks 'to explore new investment' after MSP Sports Capital collapse

Everton's Goodison Park ground
Everton are currently two points above the relegation zone

Everton "continue to explore discussions on new investment" after talks with MSP Sports Capital collapsed, in a huge blow to the club.

The Athletic reported that MSP withdrew its interest after opposition from another of Everton's existing lenders.

Everton and New York-based company MSP had reached an agreement over exclusivity in May, which is now over.

The Blues told BBC Sport in a statement that "good progress" was being made on funding for the new stadium.

In January, owner Farhad Moshiri said costs for the club's new ground on Bramley Moore Dock could amount to £760m - a £260m increase on figures quoted by the club last year.

A spokesperson said: "The club can confirm that it continues to make good progress on securing the complete stadium financing, and as part of this progress it has secured a loan to support the development costs for our new stadium.

"As the majority shareholder has stated previously, he will continue to explore discussions on new investment, provided it is right for the future development of the football club."

After talks with MSP broke down, BBC Sport understands Everton remain in discussions with other parties from the USA and Asia over potential investment in the club.

MSP failed to respond when asked for comment by BBC Sport.

Speaking in his pre-match news conference before facing Wolves on Saturday, manager Sean Dyche said: "It doesn't really impact [us] in the sense that I know [what] the realities of the parameters are from a player point of view, signing them and working in the market.

"There are so many checks for deals at Premier League clubs or any company and investor - they don't get done in a day or week. That is an ongoing view from the the business side and I don't get involved.

"We know we have to work hard in the market, find ways of creating deals because we don't have a pot of gold. I knew that from when I got the job and have been working diligently with [Director of Football] Kevin Thelwell, scouts and various contacts to try and find the right players that can fit in and make us stronger."

MSP Sports Capital members at Goodison Park during Everton's loss to Southampton
Senior figures from MSP Sports Capital attended Everton's 2-1 home defeat by Southampton on 14 January

MSP was believed to be looking for a 25% stake with a preferential share structure, not equity in the club, so would be paid back in interest.

They had jumped ahead of fellow American investment group 777 Partners, who had been given access to the "data room" [financial accounts].

However, talks with 777 did not progress as the company was not prepared to pay a "significant" price owing to the debt on the balance sheet - which stood at £141.7m in the latest club accounts.

When asked by BBC Sport on Thursday whether they had reopened talks about investment in Everton 777 Partners declined to comment.

In February, Moshiri told the fans' advisory board the club was "not for sale" but he had been talking to "top investors of real quality".

British-Iranian businessman Moshiri has invested more than £750m since 2016, but some supporters are deeply unhappy about his ownership of the club.

Toffees fans held protests before some home games last season and called for Moshiri and the board to leave the club.

Chief executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale, chief finance and strategy officer Grant Ingles and non-executive director Graeme Sharp have all since left their boardroom roles, but chairman Bill Kenwright remains in his post.

Everton are currently bottom of the Premier League after losing their opening two games without scoring, and face winless Wolves at Goodison Park this weekend.

Striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin is out of the game after suffering a facial injury and will see a specialist about the issue on Friday, while winger Alex Iwobi has been ruled out for a few weeks with a hamstring problem.

On Thursday night Everton fans campaign group NSNOW said it was a "desperately concerning time for all Evertonians".

"We head into the critical last week of the transfer window now with massive uncertainty about our club's ownership, leadership and financial position," the group said.

"It is essential that Farhad Moshiri communicates openly to fans about his position and future plans, puts in place a new chairman, board and chief executive who can provide leadership for the club, and provides reassurance the club can fund the completion of the new stadium."