Everton consider approach for Rafa Benitez

Everton are considering making an offer to former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez in their search for a new first-team manager.

The Toffees are on the hunt for someone to replace Carlo Ancelotti, who sealed a surprise return to Real Madrid earlier this month, but pursuits of candidates like David Moyes and Nuno Espirito Santo yielded no results.

Christophe Galtier, who left Lille after lifting the Ligue 1 title, was recently named as a potential option, and according to The Mirror, he’s joined on the radar by Benitez, who is under ‘serious consideration’ by those at Goodison Park.

Club owner Farhad Moshiri is a big fan of Benitez’s work and his impressive track record and he is keen to see director of football Marcel Brands turn to the 61-year-old.

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Hiring Benitez would obviously be a divisive move by Everton. The Spaniard spent six years in charge of Merseyside rivals Liverpool, during which he referred to the Toffees as a ‘small club’.

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Benitez infamously referred to Everton as a ‘small club’ / Alex Livesey/Getty Images

He defended that stance in 2011 but has since moved to cool the war of words between himself and Everton. In 2019, he told Sky Sports News (via The Mirror): “I made a mistake when I said it was a small club. What I wanted to say was they are a small team because in this game I remember they had one chance.

“Liverpool fans were happy and the Evertonians were upset. But I didn’t want to say they were a small club, I wanted to say they were a small team.”

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Talks are expected to be held with the former Dalian Professional boss in the coming weeks, with a major talking point likely to be concerns that Benitez’s comments may make it impossible for him to win over his supporters. He faced a similar issue in 2013 during his time as interim boss of Chelsea, when previous comments about the club led to widespread disapproval from the Blues’ fanbase.

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Benitez has apologised for his comments on Everton / Henry Browne/Getty Images

Should talks with Benitez fail, Everton could try to turn to former boss Roberto Martinez, who is thought to be interested in a return to Goodison Park if he leaves his current role of Belgian national team manager after the European Championships.

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Brands is expected to speak to a handful of candidates in the coming days in the hope of making a permanent appointment soon. Everton hope to get a start on their transfer business as soon as possible and would prefer to have a permanent manager in place before doing so.

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