Everton have finally ripped off the Band-Aid, so to speak, and terminated the 3-year contract of Marco Silva about halfway into his tenure. That it took a 5-2 spanking away at Merseyside rivals Liverpool and falling into the relegation zone to make the move says a lot about the Toffees Board, and none of it is quite positive.
But now the Blues find themselves in a situation that has become all too common in the last few seasons - who should take over? When Roberto Martinez was let go after the penultimate game of his third season, the Blues had some time to find his successor, which ended up being Ronald Koeman. The Dutchman himself was sacked early in his second season after a miserable run of results, heralding boardroom chaos as David Unsworth was placed in interim charge, and then looked well out of his depth at the Premier League level.
That brought in the era of Sam Allardyce, and though the negative football on show was anything but what we expect from the club once labeled the ‘School of Science’, it brought stability. However, Big Sam was never a long term option and was released at the end of the season to bring in Marco Silva.
And now nearly halfway into his second season, the 42-year-old has been shifted out as well as the team has spiraled out of control this season, despite having the most talent (and highest wage bill) in the club’s storied history.
The bookmakers are having a free-for-all with guessing who takes over now on a long-term basis, with former striker and one of Silva’s assistants Duncan Ferguson currently in charge on an interim basis.
All of these are names we’ve recently heard, so let’s go through the list and look at the feasibility.
David Moyes - Available
The former Everton manager is the bookies’ favourite to take over as permanent manager, in part because apparently Bill Kenwright is still big on him. Though the Blues will likely have a riot on their hands should they appoint him - his career high point came with the Blues, and he’s failed quite miserably at every stop since, Manchester United, Real Sociedad, Sunderland, and West Ham United.
This will not be a progressive appointment for the Blues, Moyes is as much a tactical dinosaur as Sam Allardyce, Alan Pardew and a host of other former managers.
Vitor Pereira - Available
The Portuguese manager led Chinese side Shanghai SIPG to a third-placed finish in his second season charge, after winning the league title in his first year. He is in China on a two-year deal that is now expired. Has formerly been in charge at FC Porto, Al Ahli, Olympiakos, Fenerbahce, and relegation with 1860 Munich before moving to China.
The ‘mercenary’ coach averages 1.23 years per club he has been with, and has shown little that he has picked up any of the tactical nous of Andre Vilas-Boas who he was assistant to.
His name popped up as a surprise on Thursday evening, and with no pedigree to his career, he looks more like a Marco Silva 2.0 kind of manager.
Everton want Shanghai SIPG head coach Vitor Pereira to replace Marco Silva at Goodison Park, Sky Sports News understands.https://t.co/t5rTNsI3Ia— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) December 5, 2019
Eddie Howe - AFC Bournemouth
The self-professed Everton fan as a child has had his name come up a number of times as a young English manager on the rise. He has done well to keep the Cherries in the Premier League, but will a stage like Goodison Park prove to be too big for him? And can the Toffees afford another protracted chase for a manager who is already coaching in the Premier League after what happened with Watford FC?
Howe will see his current contract expire at the end of the season, and after eight years with Bournemouth, is he looking to make a step up and away? Also, a big criticism of his has been that he cannot coach a coherent defence, and with the Cherries boasting just one win in the last ten games, is he really the man to take over the Blues?
Marcelo Gallardo - River Plate
The 43-year-old Argentine had led his side to two Copa Libertadores trophies under his watch before dramatically losing in the final last month, and is considered one of the brightest young managers in the business. He’s been endorsed by no less than Pep Guardiola, and is being considered to be in the running to replace Ernesto Valverde a Barcelona. Impressive credentials indeed.
Gallardo is a fan of the 4-3-1-2 formation to create a numerical superiority in midfield and utilize the half-spaces. It’s not a formation that’s seen often in the Premier League, but looking at our personnel and how often we’ve looked like we could use two strikers up top, this could be very interesting.
He’s been with River Plate since 2014 and his current deal expires at the end of the 2020-21 season, so a contract buyout will be required if the Blues want to give him the reins.
If Dunc gets an extended run and does well, would you consider him?— Royal Blue Mersey (@RBMersey) December 5, 2019
Duncan Ferguson - Interim Manager
The former striker has been an assistant coach for the last couple of Everton regimes, and remains beloved by the fans for his exploits during his playing career. He steps in now as the interim manager for Saturday’s visit of Chelsea, with what appear to be no expectations.
However, the question is already being asked what if he does well, much like Ole Gunnar Solksjaer did at Manchester United last season? The Red Devils might be regretting giving him a long term deal on the basis of a winning streak, but what if Ferguson emulates his fellow forward with a similar run in December?
For the record, Big Dunc said in his pre-match presser on Friday that he didn’t think he was in contention, adding that he was still at the coach level and not ready to be the permanent manager
Rafa Benitez - Dalian Yifang
The former Liverpool manager needs no introduction to Everton fans, having been in charge at Anfield for six seasons and 350 games. The Spaniard certainly has the pedigree to coach at the highest levels, having spent time at La Liga sides Real Madrid, Valencia, Osasuna and Tenerife, as well as at Inter Milan and Napoli in Italy, before spending the last four seasons at Newcastle.
While his first season in China went miserable with his Dalian side finishing ninth out of twelve sides, he’s also getting paid an eyewatering sum of £12million per year on a two and half-year deal, starting in summer of 2019.
Merseyside supporters on both sides might have a lot to say about him coming back especially to Everton, but he might well be the perfect manager for the Blues. However, the amount Farhad Moshiri will have to spend to free him from his albatross of a contract might make this one a non-starter.
Mikel Arteta - Manchester City
There are few former players who are as well-liked by the Blues faithful as Arteta. The Spaniard was a wizard who lit up Goodison Park and the Blues midfield has arguably never been the same since he left for Arsenal, cuing the “Where’s the Arteta money, Bill?” shouts.
Pep Guardiola has said more than once that he feels his assistant Arteta is ready to spread his wings and fly and even though he wants to keep a hold of him, expects that he will likely leave City at the end of the season. In his press conference today he confirmed there had been no approaches for Arteta as yet, and the Athletic report that Arteta is not planning to leave quite yet.
Arteta finds himself at a very interesting position in his young managerial career - the two Premier League sides he played for are both in turmoil, and he could likely get either job if he wanted to. The only question mark remains over his lack of real time experience. It’s one thing being an assistant to Pep, and a whole other when you’re the boss.
Phil Neville - England Women
The former Everton captain was a surprise appointment to the post of manager of the England Women’s national team, but has done reasonably in spurts. Highs like winning the SheBelieves Cup in the United States and the World Cup semifinal exit to the USWNT have also been matched by poor form in 2019 as the Lionesses have just two wins in eight games has his future under a cloud there.
Previous to the England role he had never managed a team, never worked with female footballers, and apparently hadn’t applied for the job in the first place while only having failed at assistant coach roles with Manchester United and Valencia.
His current contract expires at the end of the 2020-21 season and his placing on this list is more bookie fodder than anything else.
Marcelino - Available
The former Valencia boss comes highly recommended, and has proven himself in the ultra-competitive La Liga, taking his side to consecutive Champions League finishes, a Europa League semi-finals appearance and even won the Copa del Rey with Los Ches beating Barcelona last year.
He left the club in September after some behind-the-scenes squabbles in his third year, primarily a disagreement with owner Paul Lim, a dismissal that was clearly not performance -related as at the time of his appointment he had been the sixth manager in two years amid rumours the club will be sold soon.
The progressive manager prefers to use the 4-4-2 with the hallmarks being a very compact defence, rapid counter-attacks in a 4-2-2-2 formation and a lot of energy across the pitch. He is also being eyed by Arsenal and could be an interesting choice considering he has never managed outside Spain.
Carlo Ancelotti - Napoli
As of this morning, the Italian is being mentioned as on the Everton shortlist too. After a good first season at Napoli, things seem to have gone sour for him in Serie A with his relationship with the players close to a breakdown, and the hands-on club president unhappy with the whole situation, with a sacking on the cards.
Ancelotti is not a 'project manager', and usually only goes to clubs that are well-established at the top of their leagues, are already in Europe and are armed with a deep transfer chest, so this might be a non-starter.
Mauricio Pochettino - Available
The former Tottenham Hotspur boss has been mentioned a few times since he was sacked by the London club earlier this season. Silva was always rated as a poor man’s Poch for his time in England, so what would be better than the real thing?
The ever-reliable Paul Joyce reports that the Blues have made an approach for him as well, but have been respectfully declined. This comes as no surprise, as at least half a dozen clubs of the Bayern Munich and Barcelona level are expected to be interested in him.
Still, that is the level of manager the fans would like to see being considered and talked to, not out-of-work serial failures like Moyes.