Former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has reportedly emerged as a shock contender for the Everton job.
Benitez – who left his post with Chinese side DL Pro in January – is a favourite of Everton owner Farhad Moshiri, according to The Telegraph.
The Spaniard spent six years with bitter rivals Liverpool, winning the Champions League with the Reds in 2005, and his appointment would likely be met with widespread dissent from fans of both clubs on Merseyside.
Benitez once described Everton as a “small club” but has apologised to the Blues fans in recent days as he confirmed he would be interested in the vacancy.
And that admission has sparked an interest from Moshiri, who is struggling in his search for a new manager.
Former Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo saw negotiations with Crystal Palace break down due to his demands which included bringing six members of staff with him and agent Jorge Mendes to look after transfer dealings.
Those extreme demands are also thought to have put Everton off a move for the Portuguese, while a move for David Moyes – another top candidate – isn’t thought to be viable as they are reluctant to upset West Ham.
Director of football Marcel Brands is set to make contact with further candidates in the coming days, with Moshiri in his ear over Benitez.
Talks are therefore likely to be held with the former Liverpool manager this week.
Ex-Everton boss Roberto Martinez is also thought to be on Brands’ short-list after taking Belgium to number one in the world rankings, although his previous spell at Goodison Park ended badly.
Christophe Galtier – who led Lille to an historic Ligue 1 title this season – is also an option having resigned from his post with the French side days after they pipped PSG.
Brighton boss Graham Potter also has some backing among the Everton hierarchy, but is said to be an outside contender for the position.
Moyes remains a favourite with Moshiri, but they would not make an approach unless they were given permission to speak to him by West Ham.
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