Everton transfer guru Marcel Brands completed a James Rodriguez masterstroke

Everton director of football Marcel Brands has revealed the Toffees signed James Rodriguez for free in the summer.

But that does not mean the club will splash the cash this month to bolster their chances of a Champions League place.

It was believed that the Blues paid around £20m to Real Madrid for the Colombian attacker but Brands admitted at the club's virtual general meeting last night that it was in fact a free transfer.

Everton spent £60.5m last summer to bring in Allan, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Ben Godfrey and Niels Nkounkou yet not a penny of that figure went on Rodriguez.

Brands said: “In total we signed six new players.

“Three on permanent transfers – Allan, Doucoure and Godfrey – one of a free transfer, James Rodriguez, one on a training compensation, Nkounkou, and one loan without a loan fee, Robin Olsen.

“During this window we spent a little bit more than £60m. We saw 15 players leave who brought in £6m which brings our net spend to £54m.”

Everton's clash with Aston Villa on Sunday has been postponed due to their opponents suffering a Covid-19 outbreak.

The Toffees have started the season strongly to give themselves a chance of qualifying for the Champions League in what has been a strange campaign so far.

They are currently fifth in the table with only goal difference keeping them behind fourth-placed Leicester after 17 games.

But that doesn't mean they are going to break the bank to give boss Carlo Ancelotti more money to spend this month to increase their chances of finishing in the top four.

Brands added: We are still working to offload some platters for new challengers in their careers.

“We don’t expect to sign new players in this window.”

During last night's general meeting which was delivered remotely, Everton chief executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale said she hopes there will be a “spade in the ground” for the club's new stadium on Bramley Moore dock this year.

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