Benitez was relieved of his duties following the 2-1 defeat at the hands of relegation-threatened Norwich City on 15 January, a result which meant the Toffees won just one of their final 13 Premier League fixtures under the Spaniard’s tutelage.
What is the latest news involving Everton?
Several interesting candidates have been linked with the vacant position at Goodison Park, including big-name managers and former Everton greats.
According to Sky Sports, Jose Mourinho, Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard are all under consideration by the Merseyside outfit’s hierarchy along with multiple other figures.
However, former Porto, Fenerbahce and Olympiacos boss Vítor Pereira has now emerged as the leading contender for the role after holding an initial meeting with owner Farhad Moshiri this week.
The 53-year-old tactician was reportedly a candidate for the Everton job twice before but missed out to Roberto Martinez and Marco Silva, respectively.
And who is appointed as Benitez’s replacement could depend largely on who super agent Kia Joorabchian recommends to Moshiri.
The two men are known to share a close relationship, and Joorabchian was even seen in the director’s box during Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa.
What has Jones said about Everton?
Jones believes the Everton board are torn between whether to down an emotional route and appoint Rooney or current interim manager Duncan Ferguson on a permanent basis, or whether to listen to Joorabchian.
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In an exclusive interview, he told GiveMeSport: “It seems like Everton have got two trails of thought at the moment.
“Are they going to go for the emotional route and the attachment route with someone like Wayne Rooney? A legend. Or are they going for someone that Kia Joorabchian tells them to go for?”
Who should Everton appoint?
Whoever takes the Everton job will become the 10th different manager to be at the helm either permanently or on a temporary basis since Moshiri first bought a stake in the Blues back in February 2016.
The next appointment, therefore, will be a crucial one for the club and Pereira – a manager who has never taken charge of a game in one of Europe’s top five leagues – would represent a significant risk.
It’s a similar tale when assessing the likes of Rooney and Lampard, who have very little experience in the dugout, and Everton should perhaps turn to someone with more insight at the highest level.