Everton owner Farhad Moshiri says he is close to securing investment in the struggling Premier League club but insists he is not seeking a full sale.
Fan unrest has grown as the Toffees have slipped into the relegation zone, costing manager Frank Lampard his job earlier this week.
And the board have also been hit by spiralling costs around the construction of their new 53,000-capacity Bramley-Moore Dock stadium.
But Moshiri contradicted media reports that Everton are up for sale in comments released by the club in a video with its fan advisory board.
“The club is not for sale but I’ve been talking to top investors of real quality to bridge a gap on the stadium,” he said.
“I can do it myself. The reason I want to do it is to bring top sport investors into Everton. We are close to having a deal done.
“It is not selling the club at all, it is just bringing more expertise in terms of global sponsorship, commercial development.
“A lot of specialist sport investors have this pool of knowledge and it is to secure that for Everton.”
Moshiri acknowledged, however, that Everton faced “the most critical time in our history”. He added: “It is almost an existential point.”
The nine-time English champions initially expected their new stadium to cost around £280m but that figure has almost doubled to £500m.
Building work began in August 2021 and is scheduled to be completed in 2024, with the stadium earmarked to host matches if the UK hosts the 2028 European Championship.
Moshiri bought into Everton in 2016 after selling his minority shareholding in Arsenal to former business partner Alisher Usmanov.
Usmanov’s company later agreed sponsorship deals with Everton but those were dropped after he and several other prominent Russians were sanctioned by the UK following the invasion of Ukraine.