Everton have confirmed they signed James Rodríguez on a free transfer from Real Madrid last season.

The Merseyside club chose not to publicly disclose the financial details of the deal when completing negotiations last summer.

But now Marcel Brand, the club’s director of football, has told shareholders about the finer details of the package which brought the Colombian to Goodison Park. Although Rodríguez will command a hefty salary on Merseyside, no fee was involved.

“In total we signed six new players,” said Brands of last summer’s purchases. “Three on permanent transfers — Allan, [Abdoulaye] Doucouré and [Ben] Godfrey — one of a free transfer, James Rodríguez, one on a training compensation, [Niels] Nkounkou, and one loan without a loan fee, Robin Olsen.

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

Brands’s comments confirmed earlier reports from South America which contradicted suggestions of a £20m package to Real Madrid.

Last summer’s signings significantly improved Carlo Ancelotti’s squad, with Everton currently fifth in the Premier League and just four points behind leaders Manchester United.

However, Brands says it is unlikely there will be additions during the January transfer window, with his priority offloading fringe players. “We don’t expect to sign new players in this window,” said Brands.

“In previous years we only signed young Jarrad Branthwaite in January. We are still working to offload some players for new challengers in their careers.”

Due to the pandemic, Everton’s statements to shareholders were provided via video messages.

It was revealed that in 2019-20, 89 per cent of the club’s turnover was accounted for by salary costs. This was partly due to loss of earnings because of Covid-19. The ratio would have been 72 per cent in a normal season, which is still above the Premier League average.