There is barely an elite European club that Carlo Ancelotti hasn’t managed.
Indeed, the Italian has won league titles with AC Milan, Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain, also taking charge at Real Madrid, Juventus and Napoli for spells. It is therefore symbolic that Ancelotti’s next job seems to be taking him to Merseyside. Not to Liverpool, but to Everton.
The Toffees have long targeted the elite level of the sport, spending around £440 million in the four years since the takeover of Farhad Moshiri. They have plans for a new state-of-the-art stadium and talk about being in the Champions League in the near future. The appointment of Ancelotti would be another statement of that ambition - the appointment has now been made official.
Of course, Everton are currently a long, long way from that sort of level. In fact, the Toffees are just three points above the Premier League’s relegation zone after a dreadful start to the season. There was talk as recently as this summer that the Goodison Park outfit could challenge for a place in the top-six. Few predictions have been as far wide of the mark.
So what does Ancelotti need to do to turn things around? Here are four suggestions...
Restore Everton’s identity as a team and a club
In recent years, Everton have tried to be something that they’re not. Through managers like Roberto Martinez, Ronald Koeman and Marco Silva they have attempted to modernise their style, but in just two games interim manager Duncan Ferguson has shown why the Toffees must restore their traditional identity as a team and a club.
Rather than aiming to be a Manchester City or a Liverpool, Everton should try to emulate the likes of Atletico Madrid.
That would be a good fit for the Toffees given their status as perennial underdogs, the second team in their own city. Ancelotti must recognise the culture around Everton and come up with a masterplan that aligns well with it.
Be a willing cog in a new transfer process
The hiring of Marcel Brands as Director of Football at Goodison Park two years ago was supposed to herald a new age of joined up transfer market thinking. And yet if anything Everton look to have gone backwards despite spending spending more than almost any other Premier League side. There needs to be a new approach.
This won’t work if Ancelotti is not willing to work with a Director of Football above him, though. The Italian will have to be a willing cog in a new transfer process, working as part of a committee that will include more than just him. For a precedent to follow in this regard Everton only need to look across the city to Anfield.
Everton have reportedly agreed a 'deal in principle' with Carlo Ancelotti
Find an upgrade on Dominic Calvert-Lewin
This may seem harsh on Dominic Calvert-Lewin given the impact he has made over Everton’s last two games under Ferguson, but if the Toffees are to challenge near the top end of the Premier League table again they must find a more dependable source of goals in attack. They have never really replaced Romelu Lukaku.
With the likes of Richarlison, Alex Iwobi, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Moise Kean, Bernard and Theo Walcott to pick from in the positions behind the central striker the Everton number nine shirt should be an attractive one for prospective signings. Whether it’s Alfredo Morelos from Rangers, Luka Jovic on loan from Real Madrid or maybe even Zlatan Ibrahimovic (someone Ancelotti was worked with before) a solution is needed up front.
Trust in youth
Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham are all renowned for their world class youth academies.
Well, Everton won the PL2 Division 1 and the Premier League Cup last year and yet there has been little sign of a new generation surfacing in the first team at Goodison Park this season.
Morgan Feeney is seen as one the country’s best young talents, with Anthony Gordon also impressing in an attacking midfield role this season. Then there’s Dennis Adeniran and Beni Baningime who are tipped for the top. Not so long ago, Everton were known for providing a pathway for their young players. That must be re-established.