Frank de Boer has emerged as an early favourite to become Everton’s new manager following the departure of Roberto Martinez.
Everton announced the exit of Martinez, 42, from Goodison Park on Thursday after three seasons in charge, the same day de Boer resigned from his post as Ajax coach.
The Merseyside club has confirmed David Unsworth and Joe Royle will be in charge for Sunday’s final game of the season against Norwich.
The timing of De Boer’s departure, four days after Ajax lost out to arch-rivals PSV Eindhoven in the race for the Eredivisie title, has seen him installed as the bookmakers’ favourite to succeed Martinez.
De Boer’s agent was reported earlier this month as saying the former Holland international would “love to join a club like Everton” and on Thursday evening his brother Ronald confirmed the 45-year-old’s interest to Sky Sports.
“Frank is interested in the Everton job, but it’s not up to him to make the move, that’s up to the club,” Ronald said. “In my eyes he’s the right man for that job.
“He thought he was going to fulfil his ambition of managing in the Premier League but talks with Tottenham collapsed at the last minute [in 2014].
“When you see what Ronald Koeman has done at Southampton I would argue that Frank is at least as good as him when you see what he has achieved at Ajax.
“I think Everton would be a good fit for Frank. It’s the sort of club where he’d be given the chance to show his qualities and do something special. He made up his mind to leave Ajax two months ago because he needed a change.”
Southampton manager and fellow Dutchman Ronald Koeman, Sevilla head coach Unai Emery, Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini, Stoke’s Mark Hughes and former Everton boss David Moyes have all been linked with the vacancy.
Martinez paid the price for Everton’s Barclays Premier League nosedive when he was relieved of his duties with one game still to play.
The club’s board acted swiftly to dismiss Martinez in the wake of Wednesday night’s 3-0 defeat at Sunderland, which kept the Wearsiders up and extended Everton’s recent run to one win in their last 10 games.
The former Wigan boss was to have faced protests from fans at the club’s player of the year dinner, scheduled for Thursday but subsequently postponed, and at Saturday’s final home game against Norwich.
Martinez, who succeeded David Moyes in 2013 and had three years left on his contract, had insisted at the Stadium of Light that the players were still “100 per cent” behind him.
But the board, including new majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri, clearly disagreed, issuing a statement which read: “Everton Football Club regrets to announce that Roberto Martinez has left his position as first team manager with immediate effect.
“The chairman and the board of directors would like to place on record their thanks for the dedication and commitment Roberto has shown during his three seasons with the club.
“Roberto has been a great ambassador for the club, conducting himself, at all times with the utmost integrity and dignity. He secured the club its highest ever Premier League points total, a place in the last 16 of the Europa League and appearances in both domestic cup semi-finals.
“He has also played a key role in the development of several young players, managing their progression to the Everton first team and international honours.”
Martinez joined Everton in 2013 after leading Wigan to an unlikely FA Cup triumph, and guided them to fifth place in his first season in charge.
But a testing current campaign slumped to a new low in a 4-0 derby defeat to Liverpool last month, and an FA Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester United all but ended any hopes Martinez had of retaining his role beyond the summer.