It is a familiar situation that Merseyside outfit Everton Football Club have found themselves in once again – managerless following the sacking of Spaniard Rafa Benitez after just six months into the current Premier League campaign.
The Toffees endured yet another dismal outing in the league last weekend, after succumbing 1-0 at Goodison Park to visiting Aston Villa, a result which extended their poor run to just one win in their last 13 league games. They currently occupy the 16th position on the standings and are only just four points away from the relegation zone.
Everton may have three games in hand, but with their terrible form and with the squad lacking in confidence at present, it is not a guarantee that those games would automatically transform into points on the board. One can not simply boast of saying that the Toffees can get anything out of those games – be it a win or a draw.
When Benitez was appointed last summer, some sections of the fanbase had reservations to it, owing to his previous ties with fellow Merseyside outfit and bitter rivals Liverpool but it seemed that club owner Farhad Moshiri had made a coup to get the Spaniard. But fast forward six months after, that decision by Moshiri has proven to be another one of his numerous managerial mistakes ever since he took ownership six years ago.
Rafael Benitez’s departure after just 200 days in charge was welcomed with relief by a large section of the fanbase, with the understanding that it was the club cutting their losses on a project which was doomed to fail right from the very beginning. The exit of the ex Liverpool gaffer was the hierarchy admitting it had a mistake, with the search for a new successor taking more time tyhan necessary.
For the meantime, Duncan Ferguson will be at the helm as the club goes on the hunt for a new replacement but they MUST get it right this time around. As expected, whenever there is a coaching position available, there will be names linked to that vacancy and Everton are no different. The list of those linked to the vacancy is now in double figures and, while those who are considered genuine contenders currently numbers less than half-a-dozen, the club are still canvassing prospective candidates with only three on a potential shortlist so far.
According to reports, the leading candidate to replace Benitez is Portuguese Vitor Pereira. Incidentally, he had previously been linked with the role when another Portuguese Marco Silva was dismissed at Goodison Park just over two years ago. The 53-year-old was then coach of Chinese Super League side Shanghai SIPG and had been in negotiations with the Toffees across a seven-day period, before excluding himself from the recruitment process.
Pereira has had some degrees of success in his managerial career, having won back-to-back Portuguese top-flight titles with FC Porto and a Greek domestic double with Olympiakos in 2015. But he also has the unwanted record of having relegated 1860 Munich to the German third-tier during his six months as manager in the 2016/2017 campaign. He had joined the team in January of that season, but could only win six of his 20 games. His appointment might be the right fit for the Toffees.
Pereira is available having recently been in charge of Turkish Super Lig outfit Fenerbahce albeit he endured an unsuccessful spell, leaving them in fifth position on the log and 14 points adrift of the leaders.
Other potential candidates are Frank Lampard but it remains to be seen if he is the right manager who will engage himself in a relegation dogfight and possibly take them to the next level. Former Manchester United player and current Derby boss Wayne Rooney revealed he is flattered to be linked with the vacant manager’s position at Everton, but says there has been no approach and his focus is with his current club in the wake of their ongoing battle to beat the drop.
Also, seasoned gaffer Jose Mourinho and former Everton boss Roberto Martinez have both been sounded out for a return to Goodison Park but moves for the pair is next to impossible – as Mourinho isn’t the right fix for a club of Everton’s stature while the Belgian FA blocked an approach for its manager.
Whatever Farhad Moshiri’s plans are, the Toffees need to do something to get them out of their current situation. Everton have the relief of the international break to organize and finalize the search for a new manager, before their next Premier League fixture against fellow strugglers Newcastle United on February 8th.