First of all, a disclaimer, these names are not my suggestions. They are all names I’ve seen media outlets, as well as Everton twitter, churn out in recent weeks. Some names are obvious, some are more obscure. Then there are others that are downright ridiculous… but everyone’s entitled to their opinion, which is actually my point. Evertonians have a habit of not questioning the status quo at the club, in many quarters mediocrity has been all but accepted. If you’re one of the people saying “But who actually is there available?” then here’s a few for you.
Roberto Mancini: Currently at Inter Milan, Mancini has brought a solid pragmatic approach back to the Nerazzuri, so far winning 10 of his Serie A games by a 1-0 score line this season. Although he may not be a standout candidate due to his time at Inter, going into April his side are only 5 points away from Roma and the coveted Champions League position (Remembering that only the top three positions in Italy offer this prize). He is a manager with the experience in the Premier League, making Manchester City Champions League mainstays during his tenure, not to mention winning their first league title of the modern era. One other benefit Mancini could bring to Everton is his ability to successfully use new investment, as he did at City. Under his management David Silva, Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero were all brought to the club. These players have all continued to have an influence at the club to this day, winning trophies aplenty. Although this has to be countered with the purchases of Scott Sinclair, Adam Johnson and the infamous Jo. With the investment of Farhad Moshiri, this summer will be a very important one at Everton and whoever is in charge of the budget must use it wisely. Mancini could be one option to take over and successfully use an improved budget, while also bringing solidity back to Goodison Park.
Eddie Howe: So someone phones up Talk Sport and we apparently all want Howe in, according to them. I think it is fair to say that Everton Twitter roundly disagreed with this statement in the days after that article was released. Although I have seen his name mentioned, so he does constitute a fair hearing. Since 2012, Howe has done incredibly well to take Bournemouth from League One to the Premier League. He has also dealt well with injuries this term and looks like he has all but secured their position in the league for next season. While this achievement is no to be belittled, the question still stands, is he the right man to take Everton forwards? There is very little evidence to suggest that he is. Yes he has done well to retain Premier League status for Bournemouth but he’s benefitted massively from Aston Villa, Newcastle and Sunderland being three of the worst sides the league has ever seen, possibly with the exception of that Derby County side… Possibly. Despite the clichés constantly lashed out by Sky and BT, football is not often a sport of romanticism, very few emulate the likes of Jamie Vardy and Leicester City. More often than not, football is a sport of calculated risk. Once a player or manager has found their level, they usually stay there. Eddie Howe seems to have found his level at Bournemouth as a dab hand at both promotion and consolidation. He would be another young, inexperienced, ‘up and coming’ gamble. In other words, another Martinez, except this one hasn’t even won a trophy.
Duncan Ferguson: Alright you lot, I mentioned him. Happy now? You know who you are. Honestly, it isn’t happening and quite right too. He has no managerial experience whatsoever, it is similarly the reason why Ryan Giggs will continue to sit on the United bench doing sod all until he goes and actually gives it a try somewhere else. In both cases it would be an utterly irresponsible appointment. End of discussion.
Guus Hiddink: Known to most of us as the man who oversaw the defeat of Everton to win the FA Cup in 2009. Well, him and Tim Howard throwing in a Frank Lampard back pass. During both stints as interim manager at Chelsea he has proven adept at instilling a solid defensive line without sacrificing the attacking qualities of his players. His record in England speaks for itself, with the FA Cup loss to Romelu Lukaku recently being his first loss since taking over in December. However one problem is his age, taking teams to the next level does not happen overnight in most cases, even less so now with the implementation of Financial Fair Play. As Hiddink is 69 he most likely already has retirement in his mind, he may not be the man to take over the ‘project’ that awaits at Everton but would definitely be the man to solidity to this leaky defensive unit.
Unai Emery: With two consecutive Europa League titles to his name, Emery has constantly kept Sevilla competitive on the European stage despite constantly losing his best players. The astute signings of the Argentinian Ever Banega and Ukrainian winger Yevhen Konoplyanka (one for the Yarmolenko optimists there) have helped replace the likes of Ivan Rakitic and Aleix Vidal. One problem highlighted by some Evertonians is his fractious relationship with Gerard Deulofeu which originated by the young Spaniards mixed loan spell at the Spanish club. However in reality, Deulofeu had no right to be selected purely on reputation ahead of players of the calibre of Vidal and Vitolo. Whereas at Everton currently, Deulofeu is without doubt a player who should consistently make it into the starting XI, a scenario made even more likely by the arrival of Unai Emery as he actually plays with two wingers in his side. In a league that the mentality of ‘sell to buy’ is a frank reality for all except the big three, Emery has consistently pushed Sevilla forward. Without such a problem consistently hampering his ability to build a squad, he may be one serious contender to push Everton back in the right direction.
Ronald Koeman: The Dutchman has had a rather mixed managerial career, winning Eredivisie titles at Ajax and PSV, as well as a Copa Del Rey at Valencia. (Although apart from that he did do what’s now known as a ‘Gary Neville’ at Valencia, leaving them in 15th place in La Liga.) He has strengthened his reputation vastly since arriving at Southampton, securing Europa League football last season. In a season that most pundits tipped them to be fending off relegation, Koeman used his extensive links to Bavarian football to bring some terrific bargain singings to his side. With Graziano Pelle following him from former club Feyenoord, Saido Mane coming from Red Bull Salzburg and Dusan Tadic from Twente, Koeman added much needed quality to Southampton for just £20 million. However it does beg the question, what happens when the well runs dry? Bavarian football will not remain an untapped market forever. Since he has come to England, it has been the Dutchman’s trump card and something he has dipped back into this season, signing Jordy Clasie yet again from former club Feyenoord. Although he may not be the 100% guaranteed success that some are making him out to be, Everton could do a lot worse than employing Koeman.
Frank De Boer: Many Evertonians have decided that De Boer is a dead cert to be the next Ronald Koeman. The man has said himself that he is ready to manage in the Premier League, expressing his interest in the Swansea job after the sacking of Gary Monk. Although his CV is not very diverse, it still remains impressive. He is the only man in the history of the Eredivisie to win four consecutive league titles, with his Ajax side between 2010/11 and 2013/14 and this season he has every chance of winning his fifth title as Ajax currently sit top of the league with a two point lead over PSV. The entire managerial career of De Boer has been spent at Ajax and while does raise some question marks over his ability to adapt to a new league, his appointment as Everton manager could provide the inside track to signing some of Europe’s best prospects. A significant pay rise as well as a manager who already has faith in them, may be enough to see players such as Anwar El Ghazi, Jasper Cillessen, Arkadiusz Milik and Jairo Riedewald follow De Boer to Everton. The Dutchman would definitely fill the criteria of a calculated gamble and should definitely be one of the frontrunners for the position, should it become available.
Manuel Pellegrini: The very thought of his time at Villarreal makes me shudder. He did well there, that’s all I’m saying. After a sub-standard stint at Real Madrid, during which he oversaw purchases of Ronaldo, Benzema and Xabi Alonso, he rebuilt his reputation with an impressive spell at Malaga. Leading them to his highest points haul and a Champions League quarter final, after this he was offered the chance to take over from Roberto Mancini at Manchester City. It’s fair to say Pellegrini has reverted back to his sub-standard level of management during his three year spell in England. The similarities to Everton are actually pretty starling. Yes he performed well in his first season (See Everton 13/14) and has won a league title. But he really should have been on his way to his second right now, instead City seem to be falling out of the top four. He clearly has favourites who unjustifiably start games, I’m looking at you Jesus Navas (See Arouna Kone & Tim Howard). His inability to buy a defender who doesn’t actually specialise in defending (See Funes Mori – sorry Ramiro), while continuously bringing an unfit Vincent Kompany back into his side at every opportunity (See 2014/15 James McCarthy), have led to a once solid defence becoming utterly porous. Sound familiar? Pellegrini has helped to prove that money does not necessarily mean titles, but it really should. The Chilean is a manager that seems to perform well at clubs with mediocre expectations and a modest budget. That, in a nutshell, is everything that the Premier League is not. Appointing Pellegrini would mean more of the same frustrations, I’m not sure any of us could handle that.
Andre Villas-Boas: Probably the ‘wildcard’ option, so to speak. Hyped as the second coming of Jose Mourinho at Chelsea, he was unable to overcome player power at Stamford Bridge. Next came a mixed spell at Tottenham where the loss of Gareth Bale significantly affected the league form of Spurs, as it would with most when losing a player of the calibre. Having to bed in multi-million fee commanding players all at once was a major problem he faced at his second London club. With time, many of his buys have proved shrewd signings. Christian Eriksen came from Ajax, Hugo Lloris from Lyon and Jan Vertonghen from Ajax. All bought by Villas-Boas for a combined £33 million. The last minute loss of the transfer of Willian to Chelsea, a player who hit the ground running in the Premier League, is one thing overlooked when viewing the English managerial career of Villas-Boas. However, if you’re going to credit him with those transfer dealings, then you also have to highlight the flops. Lamela, Soldado and Paulinho costing an eye-watering £69 million, safe to say this was not value for money. At the time of his dismissal his win percentage of 53.7% was the highest of any Spurs manager since the creation of the Premier League. Looking to rebuild his career after Spurs he left for Russia and Zenit St Petersburg where he became the first manager there to win his first six games in charge, missing out on the league title by a point. His Zenit side went on to win the title the following season with two games to spare which led to direct qualification to the 2015/16 Champions League group stages. Five wins out of six saw the Russian side top their group but a poor showing in the round of 16 against Benfica led to their elimination from the competition. With his contract up in the summer, he is definitely an available option, whether he is a good option remains to be proven.
Jose Mourinho: Don’t fancy the knock-off version? How about the man himself? First of all, Roberto Martinez is in the top ten best paid managers in football. Be under no illusions, this is not a football club that ‘can’t afford Mourinho’. In the words of Romelu Lukaku “Everton are too nice”, it’s fair to say that under the Portuguese this would not be the case. Prematurely dismissed at his previous position, Mourinho still has something to prove in English football and the days of “I’ll only ever manage Chelsea” are long gone. Let’s face it, a man who wins multiple Champions League trophies, as well as league titles all over Europe, doesn’t suddenly become a bad manager. Player power and ego has been his downfall at his last two jobs. Where Martinez avoids conflict, Mourinho confronts it. Sometimes to his own detriment, making his position at clubs unattainable. He may only be a manager who stays at clubs for three year spells, but I cannot remember one single club that he left without bringing significant success to. Wrestling La Liga from Guardiola’s Barcelona was no mean feat, while he is the man most closely linked to the arrival of Chelsea on the world stage. (Well, that and lots and lots of money) Some question marks remain over his youth policy, however this seemed to be a problem localised to the structure at Chelsea. In an era that Florentino Perez no longer pushed the ‘Galacticos’ manifesto as strongly, his willingness to play a 20 year old Jesé Rodriguez as well as giving chances to Alvaro Morata at Real Madrid are both cases that must be acknowledged. (Something highlighted by the sale of Gonzalo Higuaín to afford more playing time to the young Spaniard) Make no mistake, if this man is available and willing, Everton should be doing all in their power to bring Mourinho to Goodison Park.
I’ve definitely missed some (Marco Bielsa, Phillip Cocu, etc.) and if I’ve missed off your choice, mention them. This whole process is about starting a discussion, think Martinez should stay? Great, let me know why and how it will change. Maybe you’re of the opinion that Mark Hughes deserves another go with investment. Fair enough, tell me why his record is now deserving of the job. Think Michael Laudrup deserves another shot in the Premier League? Okay, explain what he’s got to offer Everton. Think Duncan Ferguson should be handed the reins? No. Stop sniffing that glue and go outside.