It was all fairly low-key until Marcel Brands was asked for an update on Wayne Rooney, but the readiness with which came the response suggests that the departing ‘legend’ is already old news.
Marco Silva was here at Finch Farm to talk about the present and the future, not of his acrimonious past, the club’s on-going legal dispute with Watford, and Rooney the player – it would appear – has also been consigned to history.
“There is the possibility that he will leave. He’s talking with Washington and it’s not a secret,” Brands told the assembled media on Monday.
“Of course, we will talk with him, and if this is the move that he wants to make and the next step in his career, then I hope he will return when he’s finished there because he is still a legend at this club.
“I did so at PSV and I also hope to do so here, which is to use the legends at the club.”
Duncan Ferguson and David Unsworth have both survived recent managerial changes, and Silva added on Rooney’s expected departure: “It was something before I arrived that was already done. Not done but has already started, this deal with Washington.
“It’s something we expect in the next few days. We’ll talk with Rooney because he’s a club legend, and we need to understand everything. Of course, as Marcel said, the door is open every time for him.
“Of course, we’ll talk with him and we’ll see what’s happened up until this moment, and then it is Wayne’s decision.”
Rooney was an 18-year-old destined for big things when he left Everton for Manchester United on transfer deadline day in 2004, but his departure this time around has left many shrugging their shoulders.
Many fans were unsure of his return just a short 12 months ago when his fiercest critics towards the end of his time at Old Trafford described him then as washed up, finished, damaged goods.
But Everton are now left with a bloated squad, marked at being 38-men deep in Brands eyes. Before transfer targets are brought in and greater competition for places created, the new double act are clear in their message of wanting to assess which players must be moved on.
Rooney is Everton’s highest earner with the club having agreed last summer to pay £10m-a-year towards his wages when he took a 50 per cent pay-cut to re-join his boyhood club.
Getting the former England captain off the books entirely will free up additional funds for potential signings that are more in keeping with the long-term vision rather than players targeted by Koeman who were expected to make an instant impact.
While Silva and Brands spoke fondly of the door ‘always being open’ to Rooney, the conversations that will take place between the player and management team in the coming days are unlikely to change anything.
Silva was reluctant to pinpoint what the priority is as he embarks on his third job in English football, but the Portuguese admitted that there are ‘a lot of things’ that need to be addressed having done his homework alongside Brands.
While he will still want to be a part of the new era, Rooney’s exit is just the start of the reboot. Even he may acknowledge the need to seeks pastures new in order for the club as a whole to move forward with a vibrant, dynamic team capable of challenging for a top six spot.
Just as with his phasing out at United, Everton want to handle Rooney’s departure in a delicate manner that appears only reserved for players of a certain status, but the greater significance is that it allows for the new era to begin with a bold statement.
There were very few to come from a rather inauspicious opening press conference from Silva, where the club’s new insightful director of football Marcel Brands left more of an impression.
Brands is a no-nonsense Dutchman aware of the clear-up operation that has been left behind by the old regime that had left many supporters apathetic under Sam Allardyce despite the eighth-place finish.
Steve Walsh experienced abysmal returns on his £239m recruitment drive and left along with Allardyce, and the former PSV Eindhoven director of football wasted little time in appointing his successor. On Monday, he gave his reasons for choosing Silva as the man to take Everton forward.
“The reasons we chose Marco as the new manager is because he is a young, ambitious and modern coach,” added Brands, who was in attendance at Anfield to watch Brazil face Croatia at the weekend.
“He is also a coach with international and Premier League experience. This was one of the most important things to choose when considering the new manager at Everton.”
“He is a coach that is aware of the academy and he wants to give young players chances [in the first team]. That’s important for the future of Everton.
“I know what our fans expect, and I know what they want to see every time in our team: a big commitment, a big attitude and always a big motivation and big ambitions in our team as well. It is our obligation, and it’s something you have to put every day into your work.”
Everton lacked creativity under Allardyce, but it is something that Koeman pinpointed as an area in need of improvement only last summer following the sale of Romelu Lukaku and long-term absence of Ross Barkley.
Koeman sought to address the shortage of productivity by signing three players who would all vie for the same position behind a striker, and Silva was asked about how he would seek to address a squad that had the fewest number of shots on target of any Premier league side last season.
“It’s easy to see how my teams have played in the past, and now it’s the chance to prove it again here,” said Silva, who has signed a three-year deal.
“It’s a big challenge for us, we know what we want for our team but first we will look inside and analyse what we have. Afterwards, we will be assertive, and find the right targets for us.”
Silva was unmoved when asked about potential transfer targets. Richarlison, Jamaal Lascelles and William Carvalho have all be linked with moves to Goodison Park, but Brands reaffirmed the process of assessing the current squad before any concrete bid is made.
Brands explained that both he and Silva will sign off any incoming or outgoing transfer, believing that a collective decision can be reached on each potential target.
“He is going to make the starting XI, and that’s not my job. I’ve worked with a lot of good coaches, Louis van Gaal, Ronald Koeman and Philipp Cocu and I never had one player that we both didn’t agree on, and that will be the case with Marco.”
Brands admitted that when he began his new job on Friday, he was making several phone calls regarding new players, while agents were calling him about potential departures.
The director of football admitted that a squad of over 30 players will need to be streamlined before the August 9 deadline.
Silva, meanwhile, did well not to fall into the trap of outlining a specific target in terms of league position next season after the wave of optimism which came with spending over £150m last summer following the sale of Lukaku.
While he has developed an unwanted reputation of not sticking around at any of his previous club for too long, the former Sporting Lisbon and Olympiacos boss appreciates that this will be his biggest challenge yet.
He had barely been at Watford for five minutes when he appeared to have his head turned by Everton last autumn.
He was sacked two months after his former employers rejected a £12m compensation offer, but Silva will now need to convince some that he’s in it for the long haul after his new club showed such an interest in him.
“I’m not here for one, two, three years. I’m here for something more,” he added.
“It’s a big project and big challenge for us as a technical staff. Every day over the past two years, at Hull and Watford, I heard that Everton are a club that want to take the next step.
“This is something that will take some time, but you have to get results from the first moment as well.
“We are ready to prove every day what we want. First, we want to make the fans proud of our team. We need to build a strong connection between the team and them.”