Everton are reportedly lining up potential replacements for Rafa Benitez after a poor run of form, with Nuno Espirito Santo believed to be at the top of their wishlist.
According to CaughtOffside reporter Colin Walker, the Toffees have identified the 47-year-old as a possible successor to their struggling Spanish tactician.
He tweeted: “As reported earlier this month – Everton are already lining up potential replacements for Rafael Benitez – Nuno Espírito Santo a name I have been quickly informed with.”
The former Real Madrid and Inter boss only arrived at Goodison Park over the summer, signing a three-year deal after Carlo Ancelotti’s departure, but his tenure has already hit several stumbling blocks.
Benitez’s appointment back in June was greeted with some hostility amongst the Everton faithful due to his previous connections with fierce rivals Liverpool.
A fast start saw the Blues lose just one of their opening seven Premier League games under the 61-year-old, though, sparking hope that a push for European football was on the cards.
However, injuries to several key players have seen a huge drop-off in form in recent weeks, with Everton picking up just one point from a possible 15.
The Merseyside outfit’s underwhelming showings have provoked speculation over Benitez’s future, but the club’s supporters will surely be worried to learn that Nuno is the current frontrunner to take over the reins.
Despite enjoying a successful four-year spell with Wolves, guiding them to the Championship title, consecutive seventh-place finishes in the top-flight, the FA Cup semi-finals and Europa League quarter-finals, his failed stint at Tottenham Hotspurs has tarnished his reputation somewhat.
After just 17 matches at the helm, the Portuguese was dismissed by the Spurs hierarchy after a string of disappointing displays.
Defeats to Crystal Palace, Arsenal and a hapless Manchester United saw the former goalkeeper’s position in north London become untenable, and his ability to guide Everton up the division would understandably be questioned.
Benitez is likely to get a few more weeks to turn things around on Merseyside, but with Nuno waiting in the wings, he will need to pick up a positive result sooner rather than later.