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Next Everton Manager Odds: Rafa Benitez and other names in the hat for Toffees job as Ancelotti poised for Madrid return

Nuno is the current bookies favourite
Nuno is the current bookies favourite

On the back of a disappointing season for Real Madrid which saw them finish second in La Liga and exit the Champions League to eventual winners Chelsea in the semi-finals, Zinedine Zidane made his third departure from the club last week. Since then, former Whites and current Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti has emerged as his potential successor, with the Italian believed to be keen on a return to the La Liga giants - Ancelotti has since been appointed Real Madrid manager.

WATCH: Who will be the next Everton manager?

Several sources close to both club and manager have refused to rule out a return to the Spanish capital for Ancelotti, with proceedings looking almost set to be concluded in the coming days.

During his two-year tenure there between 2013 and 2015, the Italian led the club to victory in the Champions League final against bitter rivals Atletico Madrid. He also won the Copa del Rey, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup that year, but was sacked the following season after failing to secure a major trophy.

Ancelotti has spent just under 18 months in Merseyside, completing his first full season with a 10th placed finish which saw the Blues narrowly missing out on European football.

Who could replace him?

Rafa Benitez - 9/1

An appointment which may turn quite a few heads on both sides of Stanley Park, as ex-Liverpool gaffer Rafa Benitez has been installed as one of the leading contenders should the Everton manager leave.

Benitez, who is currently priced at 9/1, was once in charge at the Santiago Bernabeu himself, but remains most known for his six-year stint at Everton’s fiercest rivals.

Rafa enjoyed four trophies while in the North-West of England, including that famous 2004/05 Champions League victory over AC Milan on penalties in Istanbul when the Reds found themselves 3-0 down at half-time.

The Spaniard is highly regarded by many Kopites as being among the pantheon of Liverpool greats, included on the list of legends comprising Bob Paisley, Bill Shankly, Kenny Dalglish, Gerard Houllier and most recently Jurgen Klopp.

He left his last managerial role at Chinese Super League side Dalian Professional earlier this year, citing concerns over the health and wellbeing of his family during the Covid-19 pandemic as the reason for his departure.

If Ancelotti was to vacate his job then Benitez would certainly bring a similar level of credence as his predecessor. There is a particular ruthlessness to the way in which he operates and this could well be the missing ingredient for Everton to finally put themselves back in contention for major honours once again.

Steven Gerrard - 40/1

On the subject of shock crossovers within the city, Steven Gerrard is a surprise inclusion to the mix at 40/1. The Rangers boss had a remarkable record-breaking season in Scotland last season, with the Gers winning their first league title in 10 years, making the Europa League last 16 stage and achieving back-to-back derby wins over rivals Celtic.

The move would come as an enormous shock to all parties, with intense transfer speculation for the Liverpool icon as a player rubbing fans the wrong way. There’s also the small matter of a Scottish Premiership title-defence expected among Rangers fans, in addition to the longstanding rumours that Gerrard will eventually become the future Liverpool gaffer himself one day.

Eddie Howe - 3/1

Also at the same price as Benitez is Everton fan Eddie Howe. The former Bournemouth man has been without a job since leaving the Cherries in August 2020 by mutual consent. He enjoyed two separate spells in charge of the coastal side, securing promotion to the Premier League for the first time in the club’s history, and ending with their relegation to the second tier of English football.

After a lengthy period away from the sideline that has seen him spend quality time with family and dabble into more punditry work, Howe has been heavily linked with a return to the Premier League through Crystal Palace. Meanwhile, he was also odds-on to become the new Celtic boss but after a months-long chase decidedly snubbed the Parkhead job, believed to favour a return to the top flight instead.

Nuno Espirito Santo - 10/11

Other current or former Premier League managers in the running are led by Nuno Espirito Santo who not long ago stepped down as Wolves boss after occupying the position for four years.

The Portuguese man impressed during his tenure, leading the Midlands side back to the Premier League, and finishing seventh in their first two seasons back, with a Europa League quarter-final in there to boot. But last season’s campaign was a difficult one, with centre-forward Raul Jimenez’s season-ending injury seeing them whimper to a 13th positioned finish.

An interesting path for the Merseyside club could be to offer the position to existing assistant manager Duncan Ferguson. The Scotsman was named caretaker manager after Marco Silva’s dismissal in 2019, helping to lift them out of the relegation zone in his first game in charge just two days later with a 3-1 win over Chelsea. Later that month, Carlo Ancelotti was appointed as the new manager and Ferguson has retained his current position ever since.

Other names in the frame

There are a host of other English bosses in contention, with Graham Potter (12/1), Sean Dyche (12/1), Frank Lampard (14/1) and Scott Parker (16/1) all towards the top of the pack. Also in the running are Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate, former Chelsea and Serie A title-winning Antonio Conte, plus ex-Spurs head coach Andre Villas Boas. 

If Everton were to turn their attention to someone without Premier League experience similar to how they did with Ancelotti, there are a number of candidates who fit this mould. Paulo Fonseca is priced as the likeliest outsider behind Santo as things stand, with the former Roma boss 9/1 to take over the Toffees. 

His CV flaunts ten clubs across a 14-year period, including spells in the Champions League and Europa League with Pacos Ferreira, Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk and Roma. The Portuguese coach has had a number of fleeting appearances at clubs he’s managed, with him spending only a year in seven of the 10 senior managerial positions he’s held.

Evertonians may also be troubled to see a number of previous occupants in contention. Roberto Martinez, David Unsworth, David Moyes, Marco Silva and Sam Allardyce are all priced up for a return to Goodison. Three of the aforementioned names were relieved of their duties while in the Everton hotseat, with only David Moyes leaving by his own free will in order to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.

Style of play has been a big concern for managerial appointments among Everton fans over the years, so a couple of names that could whet the appetite in this department are Lucien Favre and Joachim Low.

Favre tends to play a dynamic, attack-minded brand of football that is widely considered to be an attractive style. In his previous roles with Hertha Berlin, Borussia Monchengladbach and Borussia Dortmund, the Swiss manager has promoted a wealth of young talent into the first team, and even raising the levels of certain experienced pro’s.

As for Joachim Low, the German national team coach announced that he would be stepping down from his role a couple of months ago, with former assistant, Hansi Flick, revealed to be his successor. Low’s Germany side very much fit alongside Favre’s model, with a balance of youth and experience helping his team to their fourth World Cup in 2014.

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