Everton have been rebuffed in their attempts to prise manager Marco Silva from Watford.
The Toffees are still searching for a new manager after sacking Ronald Koeman last month, with David Unsworth filling in as caretaker.
The former defender was once favourite for the post, but one win in four games – over Silva’s Watford – has dented his chances.
According to the Independent, ‘results have failed to improve under his brief stewardship and Everton are now looking for inspiration from outside the club’.
That inspiration could come from Watford, where Silva has been identified as the leading candidate for the job.
But Watford rejected overtures from Everton on Monday, and are insistent that Silva, who they only appointed in the summer, will remain in the post.
The Times report that Everton shareholder Farhad Moshiri is ‘willing to pay compensation in excess of £8.5 million’, but Watford are refusing to allow them permission to talk to Silva.
Furthermore, the Portuguese ‘has no release clause’ in his contract, according to the Independent, and so Watford hold all the cards.