After Everton's decision to sack Roberto Martinez was confirmed by the club, attention has already quickly turned to who will be his successor in the Goodison Park dugout next season.
With plenty of big names being thrown around: here are three potential candidates for the job:
Frank de Boer
Frank de Boer has only just left Dutch side Ajax after six successful years in charge. According to BBC Sport, De Boer is ready for ‘something else’ yet he has not ruled out the possibility of taking a year out from management stating:
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"A year without a club is also an option. I'll see what comes my way."
This statement however, was made before Roberto Martinez was sacked as Everton manager and De Boer would surely find an opportunity to manage the Toffees incredibly difficult to turn down.
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Indeed, De Boer is already the early favourite amongst many bookmakers to be the next Everton boss. The Dutchman enjoyed a successful period with Ajax, leading them to four straight league titles between 2011 and 2014. His side looked certain to win the league this season only to draw with De Graafschap on the final day of the season and surrender the title to rivals PSV.
He is known for playing attractive attacking football as well as promoting and developing youth players. The former Dutch international player will also be familiar with a small transfer budget as the Eredivisie is not known for making marquee signings but rather developing players from a young age.
One drawback the Everton board may note is the lack of experience in English football De Boer holds. However, having made 112 international appearances for the Netherlands, De Boer will no doubt be familiar with the demands of football at the highest level.
Recently relegated with Newcastle, Rafa Benitez will no doubt have his intentions set on managing a club at a higher level than the Championship. Despite his affinity with Liverpool, having led them to their fifth European Cup, Everton may well be a club of interest for the Spaniard.
Unlike De Boer, Benitez certainly has the managerial pedigree required to fill the vacancy at Goodison Park having managed clubs such as Valencia, Liverpool, Napoli and of course Real Madrid. He also boasts a La Liga title, Premier League runners-up medal and an FA Cup triumph on his impressive CV. His desire to manage in the Premier League is clear by his decision to take the Newcastle job when it was viewed by many as a massive risk.
While it is not yet certain whether Benitez will leave Newcastle, it is widely rumoured that he has a clause in his contract that allows him to leave after the club's relegation which is now guaranteed following Sunderland’s 3-0 victory over Everton - a loss that coincidentally was the final straw for Roberto Martinez.
While it is often suggested that in life you should never look back, an opportunity to return to Everton would be appealing to David Moyes who managed the club from 2002 to 2013 when he departed for Manchester United. Moyes’ reputation has taken a bit of a knock following unsuccessful spells with Manchester United and Real Sociedad but there are many Everton fans who would welcome the Scot back to Goodison Park.
Although Moyes may not be renowned for playing attacking football, he is certainly capable of organising a side defensively which is something Everton are in dire need of, having conceded 55 Premier League goals this season - the highest outside of the bottom five.
Another key problem this season for Martinez and Everton has been their home record, winning just five games at Goodison Park - only relegated Aston Villa have won fewer. This is in stark contrast to Moyes’ time in charge of Everton who were capable, on their day, of beating any side who made the visit to Merseyside.
There are many other names being rumoured with the vacancy such as Ronald Koeman, Mark Hughes and indeed the departing Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini and it will be interesting to see who the Everton board give the vote to.
Holding on to Everton’s key players will surely be the most immediate task at hand regardless of who the next manager is.
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