Everton do not expect to appoint their next manager before next week and it has emerged that Rafael Benitez is merely one of eight candidates in contention for the role.
Benitez appears to be the frontrunner to succeed Carlo Ancelotti in the Goodison Park hotseat after the Italian left for Real Madrid. It would be an opinion-splitting appointment among the Everton fanbase, given Benitez’s history with Merseyside rivals Liverpool.
But the Spaniard is reportedly already preparing for the job and one report divulged who his first signing might be.
Such plans will have to wait for now, though, as Benitez has not signed a contract yet. And while he remains in pole position, Sky Sports claim he is one of eight names under discussion.
Three of those are currently leading the race for the vacancy. As well as Benitez, there are high places on the shortlist for Nuno Espirito Santo and Roberto Martinez.
Nuno left Wolves at the end of the 2020-21 season and is on the lookout for his next job. An instant return to Premier League management could still be on the cards despite talks with Crystal Palace collapsing.
As for Martinez, he has been in charge of Belgium since leaving Everton in 2016. He divided opinion in his previous spell at Goodison before being sacked, but has worked with some high-calibre players over the past five years in international management.
He will be hoping for some reward with Belgium at Euro 2020, but could still separate after the tournament concludes.
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Those three are the main contenders for now, but Everton are still considering alternatives. The report does not name all eight candidates, but does share some of the other backup options.
Eight names for Everton next manager
For example, Duncan Ferguson has been considered after previously acting as interim manager in 2019. Having remained a member of the coaching staff since then, the former striker may be given his chance again.
Alternatively, Christophe Galtier is on their radar after winning Ligue 1 with Lille last season. He resigned following that success, but is technically still under contract. Nice are also keen to appoint him.
And another option for Everton is Eddie Howe, who has been out of work since leaving Bournemouth in 2020. He had been in talks with Celtic before that move collapsed. Thus, he should be available to take on other roles.
The other two candidates they have been considering are not mentioned in the report.
At present, Everton are yet to make any formal offers to any of their managerial candidates. But they will have to act relatively quickly if they want to start planning for pre-season properly.