A report claims Belgium coach and former Toffees chief Roberto Martinez is now favourite to succeed Rafael Benitez as the next Everton manager.
Benitez, 61, was sacked on Sunday following a dreadful run of results. They lost 2-1 to struggling Norwich City on Saturday and many pundits predicted the former Liverpool chief would be on his way. And the Merseysiders released a statement on Sunday to outline the news.
It read: “Everton Football Club can confirm the departure of Rafael Benitez as First Team manager.
“Benitez, who joined Everton in June 2021, has left the Club with immediate effect. An update on a permanent replacement will be made in due course.”
The rumour mill has gone into overdrive with potential replacements. Derby County boss and former Everton striker Wayne Rooney has long been linked with the post.
Frank Lampard, Brighton’s Graham Potter and Nuno Espirito Santo have also been mentioned in connection with the job.
However, talkSPORT are adamant that Martinez and interim manager Duncan Ferguson are the frontrunners.
Martinez was in charge at Goodison Park between June 2013 and May 2016. He was sacked by the club before taking over as Belgium boss in August 2016.
He guided De Rode Duivels to third place in the 2018 World Cup. They crashed out to Italy in the quarter-finals of last summer’s delayed Euro 2020 tournament.
And there is a sense that a talented group of players have under-achieved with the Spaniard at the helm. He may now been given a route back into the club game if the report proves to be correct.
Martinez among many Everton targets
Martinez knows Ferguson well as the Scot was among the first-team coaching staff during his time in charge. But now the pair may be up against each other for the position.
However, there are many other possible candidates, with Rudi Garcia also said to be in the frame. Martinez is thought to be favourite, however.
But former Everton defender Alan Stubbs does not feel the ex-Swansea manager is the right fit.
“He’s not for me. I’ve got to be honest. I think Roberto when he got the job he was lucky that he inherited the defensive side of David Moyes that was still in the team,” he told Sky Sports.
“Over the years it gradually got worse and worse and by the time he left, watching Everton was a real difficult watch – it was slow, it was boring at times, it was a lot of sideways, it was a tough watch.
“For me, it’s not a candidate that I would certainly be looking for.”
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