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Which manager could Everton turn to if they sack Rafa Benitez?

Frank Lampard features in the betting market
Frank Lampard features in the betting market

A grim and defeated look stained the face of the manager after the final whistle tooted.

He’d just watched on helplessly as his side were thrashed 5-2 at the home of their fiercest rivals, a result which dropped the troubled club into the relegation zone after 15 fixtures.

Within 48 hours he was sacked.

It’s almost been exactly two years to the day since Marco Silva lost his job at Everton after a defeat in the Merseyside derby. Fast-forward to the present day and could the same fate await Toffees incumbent Rafa Benitez with his out-of-form side suffer a heavy loss 1-4 to the Reds on Wednesday night at Goodison Park?

We’ve already seen six Premier League managers lose their jobs this season, now Benitez finds himself odds-on as the favourite in the Sack Race - full odds below - following a meagre return of two points from his last eight games and we saw some significant traffic following the final whilst to our next Everton manager odds page.

There’s a debate to be had whether things would drastically change if the experienced Benitez left, obviously Everton’s problems run far deeper than the manager who has had limited funds and been savaged by injuries. While the team are failing to perform, it would be harsh to direct all the increasing toxicity in his direction. The club's hierarchy need to be held accountable after spending over half-a-billion since 2016.

Yet, Benitez knows first-hand how harsh this industry can be. When a team is out of form it’s always the person in the dugout who comes under scrutiny and with fan patience wearing thin the next Everton manager market has swung open its doors, via Paddy Power and Betfair.

Below, we’ve taken a look at a range of potential options who could replace Benitez should he be ejected from his hot seat…

Next Premier League Manager To Leave Odds

Odds correct as of 2023-02-07 10:41 Odds subject to change.

Kasper Hjulmand: 3/1

We're starting to see Kasper Hjulmand appear more frequently in manager markets, and rightly so he's doing a cracking job at the helm of Denmark.

The Dane, a modern and popular leader, memorably led his country through to the Euro 2020 semi-finals and has since booked their place in Qatar 2022 after accumulating 27 points from a possible 30 in qualifying.

At club level he won a superb Danish title with Nordsjælland, but at Mainz he lasted only 25 games.

His loyalty will surely be tested if a Premier League club came sniffing for his services, yet given that the World Cup is now less than a year away it would be a surprise if he left.

No harm in trying though, with reports in Spain suggesting the early bookies' favourite is the club's preferred candidate.

What a fantastic job Hjulmand is doing at Denmark
What a fantastic job Hjulmand is doing at Denmark

Nuno Santo: 9/2

Was given all of 10 league matches at Tottenham, but while he was never the right appointment he will not be defined by his Spurs stint.

The Portuguese coach did an incredible job at Wolves, whom he took from the Championship to back-to-back 7th-place finishes - higher than Everton in both of those seasons - and through to the Europa League quarter-finals. Clubs hated playing Wolves who consistently tormented the top teams in the league with Nuno outwitting Pep Guardiola on multiple occasions.

He’s reportedly eager to return to management and has been linked with a move to Ligue 1. In truth, it would be somewhat of a surprise if Everton replaced Benitez with a manager who adopts a similar pragmatic style. Recent form aside, both bosses have previously prided themselves on their organisational skills, they are each well drilled and look to squeeze everything out of their players.

Considering that Everton reportedly opted not to appoint Nuno in the summer due to concerns over his style of play means the club are unlikely to come knocking for his services.

Frank Lampard: 6/1

Frank Lampard is a young high-profile manager who could create a much needed buzz around Goodison Park through new ideas and a fresh injection of energy. He will no doubt be hungry to prove himself following his time out of work.

After leading Derby to the Championship play-off final, he moulded together a young talented Chelsea team, giving plenty of game time to homegrown players after being placed under a transfer ban. Mid-way through his second season he was sacked, just two months after topping the league.

We eagerly await his next move - it’s nearly been a year since he left the Blues - and should a vacancy crop up on the blue-half of Merseyside he’ll surely be keen.

Everton Manager Win Rates Since David Moyes

Roberto Martinez: 42.86%

Ronald Koeman: 41.38%

Sam Allardyce: 38.46%

Marco Silva: 40%

Carlo Ancelotti: 46.27%

Rafa Benitez: 33.3% (correct as of 30th November 2021)

Duncan Ferguson: 15/2

If there’s one man who can galvanise the Everton supporters it’s Big Dunc. 

The fan-favourite memorably took over for four games in 2019 following the departure of Marco Silva. He oozed passion and energy, wasn’t afraid to shake things up, and even went undefeated; beating Chelsea 3-1 in his first game, then claimed respectable draws against Man Utd, Leicester, and Arsenal.

Ferguson may not be the long-term option, but with interim appointments becoming somewhat of a trend Everton could well give the 49-year-old the job until the end of the season. Maybe we could see a Ferguson-Wayne Rooney double-up - more on the latter shortly.

Potter is on an upwards trajectory at Brighton
Potter is on an upwards trajectory at Brighton

Graham Potter: 9/1

Of the managers who feature in the upper echelon of the betting market, Graham Potter is arguably the pick of the bunch.

He offers everything Everton are lacking right now. He’s tactically astute, employs an attractive brand of football, and is both modern and progressive. It would be exciting to see what he could conjure up at a club with players such as Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison.

Unfortunately, we just don’t see this one happening right now. Potter has frequently swatted away rumours of a move away from the Seagulls, who are currently on an upward trajectory under his management, in contrast to free-falling Everton.

Lucien Favre: 10/1

Lucien Favre could prove to be a very tempting fit. The Swiss coach has a history of leading mid-table/relegation-threatened sides into the European places, including Hertha BSC and Borussia Mönchengladbach in Germany. He won FC Zurich’s first title in 25 years, then retained it the following season. Nearly finished top of the pile with Borussia Dortmund, and took Nice to their best finish (3rd) in decades.

Ernesto Valverde: 14/1

Ernesto Valverde is certainly an attractive proposition. In his last job he led Barcelona to consecutive titles and was leading the way at the top-of-the-table before he was sacked. Perhaps more pertinently to Everton, the Spaniard has enjoyed success with mid-range La Liga teams; leading Athletic Bilbao to their first trophy in 30 years and Espanyol to the UEFA Cup Final.

Valverde boasts an impressive resume
Valverde boasts an impressive resume

Wayne Rooney: 14/1

Wayne Rooney continues to do a courageous job in horrible circumstances at Derby; his first job in management.

It's proved to be the ultimate managerial test for the young boss who has been hit hard this season with savage setbacks and points deductions, yet he refuses to let his head drop and continues to offer hope to fans and players alike that he can conjure up a Great Escape.

The Everton job is likely to arrive too soon for Rooney, although it would be incredible to see.

Thomas Frank: 20/1

Has enjoyed a bright start to his first Premier League season, having led Brentford up via the play-offs.

The charismatic Thomas Frank has pieced together an extremely watchable and talented high-energy team who piled the pressure on Benitez over the weekend following a 1-0 win. Only two teams outside of the top-four have conceded fewer goals than Brentford who have also beaten Arsenal, West Ham, and Wolves while they have a League Cup quarter-final clash at home to Chelsea to look forward to.

"I love details in football," he previously told The Guardian. "I want to develop a style of play. I want to create a beautiful game but I’m very focused on how you can create a fantastic culture, a fantastic environment."

Paulo Fonseca: 22/1

If Everton opt for a complete style overhaul then Paulo Fonseca has got to be in with a shout (again). The former Roma boss adopts an attack-minded and entertaining brand of football, he has trophies in the bank from his time at Shakhtar Donetsk, and led Portuguese side F.C. Paços de Ferreira into the Champions League.

Diego Martinez: 22/1

He may not have the same levels of top-flight experience as other unemployed managers we’ve mentioned, but Diego Martinez is definitely one to keep an eye on.

After working his way through the Spanish lower leagues with various clubs, in his most recent job in management Martinez had a stunner. He propelled Granada from the second-tier to a Europa League quarter-final in the space of three years. He surprisingly left in the summer and has since immersed himself in English football, which has only fuelled rumours that he’s keen to test himself over on these shores. At 40 years of age he surely has a bright future ahead of him.

Diego Mart­nez: €˜I saw English football and I had to experience it€™ | Sid Lowe

Who else features in the market?

Scott Parker (12/1) is busy spearheading a Championship promotion push at Bournemouth while John Terry (17/1) is hunting for his first opportunity in the dugout. It would be a surprise if either young boss got the job.

Marcelo Gallardo is priced at 25/1 to venture over to the Premier League. The Argentine has enjoyed a superb eight years in charge of new league champions River Plate - where he's won 13 trophies - whom he’s due to leave shortly. He’s often been linked with a move to Europe and it would make for a fascinating appointment should he replace Benitez.

We’ve seen plenty of players go from Man Utd to Everton over the years, but it’s unlikely to see the Toffees opt for the newly unemployed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (33/1). Elsewhere, Zinedine Zidane is out at 40/1, the same price as Michael Carrick.

Full odds below...

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