Rafa Benitez has been told that nothing less than trophies will do in his new job as Everton manager.
That was the demand from owner Farhad Moshiri in talks with the Spanish coach, with the clear objective to deliver the honours the majority shareholder longs for.
Moshiri has burned through six managers in his five years in control at Goodison, and has splashed more than £450m in his attempts to place Everton amongst the Premier League elite.
And he was precise in his assessment of what Benitez must do. When asked what he wants to see from the new manager, he said bluntly:
“A team that has a winning mentality and can compete (at) the top of the Premier League. A team that fights for the shirt. And a team the fans can be proud of.
“We want to be playing in European competitions and challenging for silverware at home and abroad.
“So it is vitally important we have a manager who understands what we want and what it takes to achieve that level of success.”
Benitez held a succession of meetings with Moshiri and his close ally and Everton investor Alisher Usmanov, and the talks were centred on the ambition both have to hit the top four.
The plan since the owner arrived was to force their way into the conversation at the top of the table, and after luring proven winner Carlo Ancelotti – only to see him jump ship for a better offer – Moshiri believes he has the same in Benitez.
“It was vitally important we have a manager who has been there and understands what it takes to achieve that level of success.
“Rafa has managed clubs with big expectations and won some of the biggest trophies in the game. That’s what we want – he’s a proven winner and we’re confident that his winning mentality will bring success to us at Everton.”
Benitez is the most controversial appointment in the club’s history, and there is little doubt the most unpopular too, amongst the fans, with even more anger expressed that after the arrival of Sam Allardyce.
But Moshiri faced the music after bringing in Benitez, by pleading with the supporters to get behind the new manager and his team.
“I know that the last few weeks have not been an easy time for our supporters, but hopefully now we can come together and be confident about our plans on and off the field.
“There are some exciting times ahead and I hope the supporters know that they have my full commitment in terms of delivering our ambitions.”
The first step of that plan will be to deliver a new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock by 2024, and there was good news for the Blues on Thursday, when it was confirmed they will take possession of the dock site on July 26.
The first phase of development will begin then, and soon after, the infill of the dock will begin, with chairman Bill Kenwright saying: “This will be a momentous day in the history of the Club and is testament to the ambition and financial commitment of Farhad.”