Rafael Benitez is ‘being considered’ as a replacement for Roberto Martinez as Everton manager, according to reports.
Martinez is under intense scrutiny as his third season in charge of Everton draws to a close, with the club 11th in the Premier League, having suffered semi-final knockouts in both domestic competitions.
Everton fans have voiced their disapproval against the Spaniard’s regime, and the Daily Mail report that the Toffees are eyeing potential replacements for a change in the summer.
Craig Hope writes that Benitez is included in a shortlist of names, providing Newcastle are relegated from the Premier League this season.
The Magpies are currently 17th in the league, one point above the relegation zone, although bitter rivals Sunderland have a game in hand.
Hope reports that Benitez has a ‘break clause’ in his contract at St James’ Park if Newcastle are relegated to the Championship, and that ‘that has alerted Everton’s hierarchy,’ who are ‘almost certain’ to replace Martinez in the summer.
Benitez will be a popular choice if he arrives at Goodison Park, having once described Everton as a “small club” during his six-year tenure as Liverpool boss.
“When you play against the smaller teams at Anfield you know the game will be narrow and compact and at times we were a little bit nervous,” Benitez said after a goalless Merseyside derby in 2007.
“We are really disappointed. You could see one team that wanted to win. It was difficult because they were defending.
“They had a chance in the second half after our mistake but Pepe made a good save but apart from that we controlled everything.
“We had three strikers and Pennant and Riise saw a lot of the ball but they had nine men all the time behind the ball.”
Hope reports that former Everton manager David Moyes and outgoing Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini are also being considered by the club.