For how long it took David Moyes' name to be thrown in as a successor to Sir Alex Ferguson, the same can be said for Roberto Martinez as well. While others like Juergen Klopp, Louis van Gaal, Pep Guardiola, Antonio Conte and even Jose Mourinho are being tossed around as replacements for the now fired Moyes, it is the name of Martinez that has appeared as a truly dark horse candidate.
Truthfully it isn't that surprising to see Martinez mentioned in the conversation. Several years ago Martinez was rumored to be the first choice candidate at Liverpool. Instead the Spaniard turned down the Liverpool job to stay at Wigan. While Liverpool's subsequent hiring of Brendan Rodgers has worked out well, it was a big surprise that Martinez turned down a job that would have seen him leave one of the big contenders for relegation.
This year has shown why Martinez was in such demand at Liverpool. While he has brought in several quality players at Everton, his best job was completely changing the style of play. Under Moyes Everton was sterile and often lacking in ideas. With Martinez these same players have moved the ball with a certain flair, and even in losses it is rare that Everton has a truly ugly game.
That success has shown Martinez's philosophy can transfer over to a larger stage. The big unknown for Everton was a how a man who led a side to relegation would do with a squad that should contend constantly for European football. Many pundits picked Everton to be involved in a relegation battle. None of them predicted they'd still be fighting for Champions League football this late in the season.
All of this begs the question if United would want Martinez. He certainly won't be the club's first choice. After the arrival and prompt departure of Moyes, the weeping Manchester giants are certain to try and lure a star manager to Old Trafford. Big-time coaches like Klopp, van Gaal, Guardiola and Conte have all been mentioned as candidates. But what if those names choose to pass on what can only be described as a quickly decaying squad? There will be a significant rebuilding job required, and many of these stars may prefer to continue their work at their current position. Unsubstantiated rumours have it that the Glazers are willing to front a $200 million summer kitty for a squad overhaul - who would they trust to manage that money best though?
That leaves United with following the Liverpool route - grabbing "the next big thing" in managers. Martinez certainly fits the bill, and at least in England he is probably the best candidate outside of Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal, and Chelsea. Even though United may want to go outside of the country, they would have to make the call.
As for Martinez, many will wonder if he would even take the job. His decision to turn down Liverpool shows that he isn't afraid to wait for what he feels is the right situation. But at the same time it is Manchester United. They are an international giant, a juggernaut that even Liverpool cannot compare to, and it might be a similar case to David Moyes where he simply wouldn't be allowed to say no. That would be a devastating blow to Everton, even more so than it seemed when David Moyes left. It is one thing to find the right replacement once. It is almost impossible to do it a second time.