The last thing Farhad Moshiri and Bill Kenwright will have envisaged this summer was finding a new manager.
Carlo Ancelotti was supposed to lead Everton to greatness but instead, the Toffees are now back at square one after his departure to Real Madrid.
The Italian left Merseyside behind with a lot of unfinished business and they now look set to replace him with Nuno Santo.
He left Wolves a number of weeks ago and after a move to Crystal Palace fell through, is primed and ready to take on the Everton hot seat.
His appointment shouldn’t fill supporters with too much excitement but he has been a consistent and reliable figure in the Midlands for four years.
Nuno has a year’s experience of European football but with Everton holding ambitions of a place in the Champions League, they need someone with a bit more know-how.
That man could be Erik ten Hag. Also fielding interest from Tottenham, the Dutchman is one of the most improving coaches around.
The Athletic claimed that Everton have the 51-year-old on their shortlist last week and as a result, they should engage in discussions with him.
After all, Ten Hag’s style of football and his philosophy is everything the Toffees should lust after.
He has won the Eredivisie on two occasions and was named the fourth-best coach in the world by FIFA during 2019 for his incredible Champions League run with Ajax.
They reached the semi-finals of the competition in 2018/19, knocking out Real Madrid but losing to Spurs in the dying embers of the last four.
Ten Hag’s record with the Dutch giants is rather incredible. Ajax have scored 452 goals in just 167 games with him at the helm, leading to a goal difference of +299.
A keen exponent of the high press, the coach has taken great influence from Jurgen Klopp but he also raves about Pep Guardiola; “I learned a lot from Guardiola. His philosophy is sensational, what he did in Barcelona, Bayern and now with Manchester City, that attacking and attractive style sees him win a lot,” he said.
The Ajax boss has tried to replicate that in the Netherlands and has combined elements of Barcelona’s captivating style with the total football created by the late Johan Cruyff.
Daley Blind told BT Sport (via Planet Football) in May 2019: “Johan Cruyff’s philosophy and spirit still flows around in this club. Erik ten Hag is doing very well now. He wants us to play attacking football but most of all without any fear.”
The Independent’s Will Magee added: “When it comes to Ten Hag’s favoured style of play, the Cruyffian influence is unavoidable. There is a reason that his approach has been dubbed ‘Total Football 2.0’.”
This shines through in the interchangeable nature of his side’s play. Unlike Nuno, Ten Hag is extremely flexible in the way he wants his players to set up.
The full-backs push high while Ajax’s wingers are capable of moving inside and occupying spaces in the middle, as well as on the flanks.
As for Dusan Tadic, he operates in a frightening fashion as a roaming forward, leading the line astutely with 76 goals and 70 assists in 149 outings.
With total football the modus operandi by which Ten Hag lives, he’d be a stellar acquisition for Everton.
He looks like a man with all of the tools to fix their mediocre league finishes.