Rafa Benitez will be confirmed as Everton manager next week, according to a report by the Independent.
They report that Alisher Usmanov has asked Roman Abramovich for advice on how to get the best out of the former Liverpool manager, who also spent time at Stamford Bridge, winning the 2013 Europa League.
Usmanov is a trusted confidante of Everton owner Farhad Moshiri and to of his companies – USM and MegaFon – are important sponsors of the Toffees.
That indicates we are in the end game in terms of the search for Everton’s new manager, barring any late hiccups.
The report quotes a source claiming: “This is the greatest gamble in the history of Merseyside football. It’ll either be a shambles or a huge success. There’s no middle ground.”
Benitez will be right up against it from the start because of his Liverpool connections.
If it doesn’t go right, Moshiri will face scrutiny from the fans for bringing in a former Anfield boss.
The report claims that many staff are also skeptical of the impending announcement, but of course will be expected to get behind Benitez.
Benitez to Everton would be fascinating and the only way for him to get fans on side would be to win games.
He insists on diligent work on the training ground to improve players and Everton should be hard to beat under him.
It’s just whether there’s enough going the other way to take Everton where they want to be and satisfy the fans.
Everton have traditionally preferred a high-tempo approach to get the fans going.
A former Liverpool boss playing a cautious style very much runs the risk of turning the Goodison crowd – who will already be wary of Benitez’s appointment – off even further.