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Rafa Benitez has been sacked as Everton manager. A miserable run of form has seen the Toffees slip to 16th in the Premier League table.
The club have just one league win to their name since September. Everton’s total of 19 points from 19 matches is the club’s lowest tally at the halfway stage of a season since 2005/06.
Benitez leaves Merseyside with a win percentage of 31.8%. It is his lowest record in charge of an English team.
Everton Football Club can confirm the departure of Rafael Benitez as first team manager.
— Everton (@Everton) January 16, 2022
Football Insider are reporting that Duncan Ferguson will take temporary charge of the club for a second time. He previously took over from Marco Silva in 2019. The report claims another Toffees legend, Leighton Baines, will join Ferguson.
But that will only be a short-time fix. So who will be handed the reins on a long-term basis?
Wayne Rooney to return to Everton?
Yet another Everton hero, Rooney is one of the leading contenders for the role. The former England striker is currently in the hot seat at Derby. And his work has been catching the eye of many, with the Rams recently moving off bottom spot in the Championship. That comes despite a 21 point deduction earlier this season.
Rooney spent two years at Goodison Park as a teenager before sealing a move to Manchester United. He could now return as manager, in a period that has seen former England team-mate Steven Gerrard return to the English top-flight as Aston Villa manager.
It would certainly be a gamble to bring in the former Man Utd man. Unlike Gerrard, Rooney does not boast a lot of experience in the dugout. Lines could be drawn to the appointment of Frank Lampard as Chelsea manager in 2019. The Blues legend – who incidentally made the move from Derby – was quickly sacked for failing to deliver positive results.
Graham Potter, Nuno Espirito Santo linked
Worryingly for Brighton fans, Graham Potter is a name that is continuously being linked with any top job that becomes available. The vacant role at Goodison Park is no different.
Potter has done an exceptional job at Brighton. His attractive football and resolute defence have driven his side into the top half of the Premier League. Fortunately for Brighton fans, he looks settled in his current role. The Seagulls also sit seven places above Everton in the table.
Former Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo is another road the Toffees could go down. The Portuguese did a phenomenal job at Wolves, taking the club to new heights. A European campaign typified his extraordinary efforts there.
He then made the move to Tottenham Hotspur. Despite a bright start to life in north London, a poor run of form led to his sacking after just four months. It was perhaps a harsh decision, and his managing capabilities may just be what Everton need right now.
Also reportedly in contention are Roberto Martinez and Lampard.