A familiar face on Merseyside soon.
A report by David Maddock for the Mirror is claiming that former Liverpool FC manager Rafael Benitez has emerged as a strong contender for the vacant Everton FC managerial position, with Blues owner Farhad Moshiri keen on the former Champions League winning Liverpool boss to succeed Carlo Ancelotti, despite the potential for rising levels of salt amongst the blue half of Merseyside.
Everton’s search for a manager has been unfruitful thus far – with their top two contenders staying put in their respective situations. Former manager David Moyes has European football to look forward to with West Ham United after a season where they overachieved, and is unlikely to return. Nuno Espirito Santo was close to joining Crystal Palace after his departure from Wolves, but that fizzled out at the last stage of negotiations reportedly over demands to bring along six staff members, as well as handing control of transfer business to super agent Jorge Mendes.
Long-time Liverpool fans will remember when Rafa called Everton a “small club”. In recent years, he has walked back those comments. He has also confirmed that he would be interested in the position, which has been reciprocated by Moshiri.
Benitez will be up in the running against:
- former Everton manager Roberto Martinez (yes please!), especially if he does well in the Euros with Belgium
- Christophe Galtier who just led Lille to the Ligue 1 title over PSG but resigned days after, claiming he felt his time at the club was up (he also has interest from Nice)
- Brighton boss Graham Potter is said to have backing within the Everton boardroom, but he would be an outside contender, because why would he do this.
Personally, I’m not surprised Rafa would be open. Man’s a workaholic, and will clearly put aside concerns such as prior history to coach and manage, as he did previously with Chelsea. Liverpool seems like the one club that has gotten through to his cold cold heart.
For more selfish reasons, I’m not a fan of it as Rafa teams are always tough to beat, so if this happens, it’s just six harder points to earn in two of the more volatile league fixtures we have.
And lastly, because I love Rafa for all he’s done for this football club, I would not want him to suffer the soul-sucking inevitability that is Everton, even if he did hang in there at Newcastle way longer than was humanly expected or possible.