Everton

Everton

Premier League • England

Mixed messages cloud Benitez future as surprising new Everton managerial target emerges

Neil Foster
Former Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho speaks with Brendan Rodgers before game against Leicester

Jose Mourinho is reportedly in the running to replace under-pressure Rafa Benitez if the Spaniard is sacked by struggling Everton.

Mourinho, 58, is currently in charge of Roma after replacing Paulo Fonseca at the Stadio Olimpico. The Portuguese tactician has only been in the job since May this year. But there is already unrest in the camp with rumours that the controversial coach is unhappy.

The capital outfit sit fifth in the Serie A standings but are 13 points behind table-topping AC Milan. Saturday’s 3-0 home defeat to Inter means Roma have lost 16 league matches in a calendar year for the first time since 1950.

And the result equalled Mourinho’s biggest home defeat as a manager. The former Porto boss has made no secret of his love for English football.

Two successful stints at Chelsea were followed by relatively disappointing spells at Manchester United and Tottenham. But it appears as though he would be willing to give it another go in the Premier League.

And The Mirror are reporting that Everton might go down that route if they do decide to part company with Benitez. Following a solid start to the season, the Merseysiders have now slipped to 15th – five points above the relegation zone.

Owner Farhad Moshiri has backed the ex-Liverpool chief but rumours of a possible change of manager will not go away. Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand is one man thought to be on the club’s radar.

And former Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov has tipped ex-Everton ace Wayne Rooney to take the job.

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There are certainly confused messages coming out of the club at present. Despite the owner’s backing, chairman Bill Kenwright reportedly called an emergency board meeting on Friday night.

Mourinho a risky choice

There is no questioning Mourinho’s record as a manager. He has won league titles at Porto, Chelsea, Inter and Real Madrid.

And the Setubal-born veteran has claimed the Champions League with both Porto and Inter. But he comes with baggage.


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Controversy is never far away and he has become more cantankerous in his dealings with the media. He also has an ability to fall out with his own players, something that seemed to hasten his demise at Old Trafford.

Rafa Benitez Everton

Mourinho has already complained about the Roma squad depth. And, with funds tight at Goodison, he may walk into a similar situation if replacing Benitez.

READ MORE: ‘I want people to realise’ – Benitez rejects big Everton claim in pressure statement