Everton have wielded the axe upon Marco Silva following Wednesday’s 5-2 hammering at the hands of rivals Liverpool - their ninth league loss this season - a result which dropped the Toffees into the relegation zone.
In the process Silva has become the fifth Premier League manager to lose his job this season, and third in the space of a week following the recent exits of Unai Emery (Arsenal, Friday) and Quique Flores (Watford, Sunday).
Everton now open up the hunt for their fifth permanent boss since the departure of David Moyes (2013), who is one of six contenders that we’ve taken a look at in the next Everton manager market...
Would jump at the chance.
David Moyes has been biding his time since West Ham opted not to extend his contract at the end of the 2017/18 season, but a return to his old stomping ground would prove irresistible, even if it’s only on a short-term deal until the end of the season.
The Scot previously spent 11 years in charge of Everton and while he was unable to get his hands on a trophy, he did bring a combination of stability and progress to the club, with nine top-8 finishes on his CV including a stand-out 4th spot in 2005.
Orchestrating a top-6 finish was the goal at the start of the season but a shambolic showing so far means the focus has systematically shifted to steering the ship out of stormy waters, as was the case when Everton sacked Ronald Koeman two years ago.
Moyes, who at this early stage appears the most realistic appointment, would therefore need to draw on all of his experience and expertise to galvanize the confidence-crushed club, patch up the leaky defence and get them firing in front of goal on a consistent basis. Such is the nature of this topsy-turvy Premier League season that a couple of wins on the spin can shoot you right up the league ladder.
If this outcome occurs rumours are that Everton legend Tim Cahill could come in as Moyes’ assistant.
Definitely the most intriguing and exciting option on this list of half-a-dozen managers.
After leading Nacional to the Uruguayan title in his first job, Marcelo Gallardo then sparked a revolution at River Plate which to date has wielded 10 pieces of silverware, including a couple of prized Copa Libertadores trophies.
Yes, Gallardo has never managed outside of South America but his stunning feats, both domestically and continentally, have transformed the 43-year-old into one of the most desirable managers on the planet - you can read more about him here.
The question is would he want to take over?
Everton aren’t exactly the most attractive prospect at the moment given their position in the table. Meanwhile, River Plate have the Argentina Cup final to look forward to later this month, and they’re currently 3rd in the league table with a game in hand on their rivals.
Furthermore Gallardo’s contract at River Plate doesn’t expire until 2021, and it’s no secret that he’s being touted as a future Barcelona boss, so he may be waiting patiently for an opportunity to crop up in Spain.
He would be a huge coup for the Merseyside club with fresh ideas, an attractive, attacking philosophy and strong man-management skills, however it’s unlikely to happen given the circumstances.
Could Everton lure Marcelo Gallardo over to the Premier League?
The Spaniard could well be waiting patiently for Pep Guardiola to depart Man City sometime in the future, but there’s no guarantee that this could occur anytime soon, and who’s to say that he’d automatically be given the post anyway?
“For sure he will be a manager,” Guardiola has said of his assistant. “I would like him to stay with us as long as possible. But personal life is personal life, his professional desire is professional.”
Arteta, who was signed by Moyes in 2005, spent six seasons at Goodison Park as a player, but should he now return as manager he’d be thrown straight in at the deep end. However, with a number of high-class yet underperforming players at his disposal he’d no doubt fancy his chances of turning the club’s fortunes around.
The only concern would be over his experience as an actual manager - Guardiola once let him oversee a victory over Arsenal - but Arteta would be viewed by many fans as a risk worth taking.
Would become the first to manage both Liverpool and Everton.
You could argue that William Edward Barclay has a say in this, although he oversaw both clubs in a period when the title of ‘Secretary’ was prominent, with these figures looking after the team but not necessarily responsible for picking the team.
Anyway, back to Benitez. Despite the Liverpool link, his stature, experience and achievements in the game would make him a sterling appointment. The work he did at Newcastle was exceptional, and if you consider how much he squeezed out of a pretty average squad, imagine what he could accomplish with Everton’s underperforming stars.
However, there’s the small matter of his reported £20m buy-out at current club, Dalian Yifang, with the boss only six months into his two and a half year deal. If this was activated it would be a world-record fee for an employed manager, and given the amount of money Everton splashed over the last few years it’s admittedly a remote outcome.
Probably wouldn’t be first on many Evertonians’ list given the timing.
Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth are only two points better off than Everton after losing their last four games on the spin. Yet while the Cherries are undoubtedly in a funk at the moment, if you look at the bigger picture then the work Howe has done at the south coast club is simply superb.
The Englishman is constantly linked with a move away from Bournemouth - and deservedly so - but he’s so far remained loyal to his beloved club, loyalty which would be tested if Everton came knocking on the door.
He’s also an Everton fan, if that means anything…
Mauricio Pochettino has set his sights on a return to Europe
What a statement this would be.
Arguably the world’s most sought-after out-of-work manager revealed to Fox Sports Argentina this week that he’s eyeing a return to the European club scene following his Tottenham exit last month.
"There are a lot of clubs and attractive projects for me to take on. It is my intention to return to manage in Europe. But now I need to be calm for a few days and see what happens."
Pochettino has been linked with a shock move to Arsenal, and while this is not out of the question, we can’t see it coming to fruition. The Argentine is widely viewed as a future Man Utd manager - he’s odds-on in the betting - yet it would come as a surprise if the Red Devils were to pull the plug on the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer project anytime soon. Although if Pochettino waits it out until the summer then an opportunity could arise.
Pochettino at Everton would be an incredible and ambitious appointment but could the club lure over a manager of his calibre?
They are struggling in the league and absent from European competition yet despite their current struggles the club’s potential is plain to see, while they have a League Cup quarter-final on the horizon.
Everton should at the very least attempt to make contact with the 47-year-old.