It’s almost three weeks since Carlo Ancelotti suddenly departed Everton to return to Real Madrid, and we are still awaiting the appointment of the Italian’s successor at Goodison Park.
In that time, all manner of managers have been linked with the Everton job, including former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez, Antonio Conte, Eddie Howe, Duncan Ferguson, Graham Potter, ex-Everton chiefs Roberto Martinez and David Moyes, and many more.
Benitez and former Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo have been the favourites, with both reported to have been close to taking the job in the last ten days.
But as speculation rumbles on with the beginning of pre-season training just two weeks away, we shared our thoughts on the last few weeks and the runners and riders for the again-vacant Everton job:
Firstly, how did you feel about Carlo Ancelotti’s departure from Everton?
Pete: Was never too wild on Carlo taking over in the first place, but his charm won me over. However, to see him get the Madrid job after finishing tenth with Everton was bizarre.
Calvin: Betrayed. Granted, there are no permanent allegiances in modern football, but I’ll admit I’d swallowed the story that he wanted to be here for years, building a dynasty and leading us into the new stadium hook, line and sinker. His 18-month tenure here instead leaves a legacy of basically nothing. We might be a better team on paper, but that’s about it. He didn’t even get us into Europe as something to remember him by.
Matthew: Gutted. I know last season wasn’t anything to write home about ultimately, but I did see genuine signs of progress under Ancelotti and was desperate to see what he could do with a full Goodison behind him for an entire campaign. Him leaving Everton for Real Madrid didn’t particularly surprise or upset me; what did, though, is the rather indecent haste with which the move happened, especially after saying so many lovely things about Everton and the city of Liverpool.
Brian L: Ancelotti’s departure stinks. I know there were concerns given how the season ended, but Ancelotti is a proven winner who understands how to attract and manage top talent. There aren’t a lot of managers out there who can do that, and I’d rather have him here for a few seasons to see what is really possible.
Trent: I understood the move from his point of view to a certain degree, yet I thought a manager with such an illustrious career might have wanted to further grow it in a way that demonstrated his ability to turn any club into a real challenger within their league as well as in Europe.
Ancelotti left almost three weeks ago and Everton have yet to replace him.
Are you pleased they’re taking their time, or starting to worry about how long it’s taking?
Pete: Pleased they’re taking their time. There’s a massive international tournament on right now. Let’s take our time and make the right long-term decision.
Calvin: Apparently we’ve talked with nearly a dozen possible candidates for the job - clearly, there is not one candidate that is checking off all the boxes. How long it’s taking, though, is starting to make the pessimist in me fret that we’re looking for someone that doesn’t exist.
Matthew: A bit of both. It’s such an important appointment, but the fact that, nearly three weeks on from Ancelotti’s departure and we are still being linked with so many different types of managers, suggests to me the club have been totally caught cold. Granted, Ancelotti’s exit was a shock, but I can’t help but feel a better-prepared football club would have a contingency plan for their manager leaving, however suddenly it transpires. I fear Everton don’t know what they really want to be.
Brian L: I think the delay is mainly a function of just how few great candidates there are. Ever since Moyes, left there has always been at least one candidate that looks like a good option on paper. Martinez, Ronald Koeman, and Marco Silva were all well thought of publicly, and tipped as a manager who could make the jump to the next level. There really just isn’t anyone like that this time. So I’m not sure if I’m glad or worried; it may depend on who we end up hiring.
Trent: As I wrote recently, I believe that the wait was positive to an extent at the start, yet it has dragged on too far. The team needs a manager to help bring in transfer targets and prepare the club for pre-season. Someone must be appointed sooner rather than later.
Nuno Espirito Santo and Rafael Benitez have both been strongly linked with the job in the last week or so.
How would you feel about either of them becoming Everton manager?
Pete: Nuno just feels so uninspired and Rafa wants an easy commute. Nuno over Rafa, but neither is preferable.
Calvin: Neither of them strike me as someone who will build something here for the next half a dozen years. However, if either can get us a trophy and make us top six contenders, then I couldn’t care less if they had managed Liverpool previously or worse.
Matthew: Benitez would be on the back foot from minute one because of his Liverpool history (rightly or wrongly), plays uninspiring football and has seen his career wane for the best part of the last decade. Massive no for me. Nuno, by comparison, looks a lot more appealing, but I still there are better candidates than him, too.
Brian L: Between the two it has to be Nuno. He did some great things at Wolves, even if this past season was rough. He’s shown an ability to put together a squad that can compete with top teams and he isn’t afraid to play, he won’t just bunker down. Benitez just hasn’t done anything recently to make me think he’s going to suddenly put things together beyond a Newcastle-esque season.
Trent: I would prefer Nuno to Rafa, if we are being honest. Rafa feels Mourinho-ish in that he is yesterday’s boss. Everton can do better.
If not Nuno or Benitez, who would your choice for Everton manager be?
Pete: Lucien Favre. The perennial overachiever.
Calvin: Lille’s Christophe Galtier is the kind of manager that I see building that kind of legacy that I have mentioned previously, based on an identity and unaffected by players coming in and leaving the club.
Matthew: Any three of Antonio Conte, Galtier, or Graham Potter. Conte might seem a pipe dream and may end up leaving in similarly abrupt fashion to Ancelotti, but I just love his personality and the way his teams play when everything clicks. For Galtier to lead Lille to the Ligue 1 title was mightily impressive, but his apparent lack of English would be a minor, albeit hopefully temporary, concern. Potter’s style of play and approach to developing and signing younger players feels a perfect match for Brands, but has he got the strength of character to deal with what can be a hostile, impatient fan base? So, in short, even the most appealing candidates I have reservations about.
Brian L: Related to above, there just isn’t anyone I look at and go: ‘Yes - sign him up immediately.’ But I do think it’s worth looking outside of the Premier League - either a manager with lower-level experience in England or in one of the other leagues. Let’s change things up from the traditional method we’ve seen over the last several searches.
Trent: My top three are Conte, Galtier and Potter, in that order.
Farhad Moshiri seems to be leading the managerial search.
Are you happy with him picking the next boss, or should it be left primarily to director of football Marcel Brands?
Pete: Absolutely not [happy with Moshiri picking the next boss]. How many failed appointments does he need to interfere with before he lets the man who’s supposed to be in charge of the football [Brands] do his job?
Calvin: I find it perturbing how involved in the day-to-day business of the club Moshiri is. While it’s nice to have a knowledgeable and involved owner, and his contacts among influential agents and movers and shakers in the business are useful, he really needs to leave the running of the club to the relevant people.
Matthew: It should be Brands and only Brands. He is the director of football; let him direct the football. Moshiri should be there as a benefactor who signs off on deals. That way, he’d probably get more bang for his buck, too.
Brian L: I think Moshiri needs to be involved and I’m glad he is interested, but my worry is he’ll go off on his own and do something dumb. If Brands can get behind his pick and work well with him I think it will be OK.
Trent: I think the choice for a new boss must be decided upon together because while Moshiri has the wallet, Brands has the knowledge and experience.
Given Everton’s non-international players are set to return to training on July 5, what would be your deadline for finding the next manager?
Pete: July 1.
Calvin: The sooner the better. There will be lots of work to do for the new manager and his staff even before the players report back to training, so the earliest they can get in and start working, the more prepared we will be for the upcoming season.
Matthew: The end of next week. I think the new manager will need to have time to learn about our players and where the holes in our squad lie before pre-season training starts.
Brian L: Has to be by the end of June. That gives the new boss a few days to get sorted for pre-season training. It can probably last until a few days before players return, but the longer the seat is vacant, the more unsettled the squad may become.
Trent: June 25. Whoever leads the club moving forward needs time to do so properly.