Everton’s Farhad Moshiri and Bill Kenwright would be making an unforgivable mistake by appointing Rafa Benitez as the man to replace Carlo Ancelotti.
Ancelotti made the decision to return to the Santiago Bernabeu to manage Real Madrid, and that has opened the door for a new manager to come in at Goodison Park.
And, according to The Athletic, one of the surprising names that has now emerged is that of former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez, with the Spaniard open to crossing the Merseyside divide to take over the Toffees.
The report revealed: “The Athletic understands that Benitez would be open to talks with Everton’s board and is keen to get back into football after leaving Chinese Super League club Dalian Professional in January.
“The issue with the experienced Spaniard has traditionally been his tenure at Liverpool and the fear that no matter how much he made sense for the Everton job, it would be a move too far for the club’s supporters who would not be able to stomach the prospect of someone associated so closely with their rivals.
“However, if Moshiri were to decide to plough ahead with the profile of a proven winner, he may decide the time has come to make a firm approach to Benitez, who is still based on Merseyside with his wife and daughters. He would be joining a club whose owner has already shown he is prepared to be single-minded in the face of supporter unease when he opted for Sam Allardyce and former Liverpool assistant manager Sammy Lee in 2017.”
Make no mistake about it, given the storied history Benitez enjoyed at Anfield, the Spaniard would arrive on the blue half of Merseyside already battling against the tide.
The fans would already be on edge with the 61-year-old, and that kind of atmosphere and tension isn’t exactly the most conducive to a good working environment.
The first sign of trouble or bad form would carry that much more weight and angst, more so than it would for any other manager who would be arriving with a clean slate.
And, Benitez’s Liverpool ties are just the tip of the iceberg, with his notorious defensive, counter-attacking approach earning him a lot of criticism while he was at Newcastle, with Gary Neville among those to take aim at him.
He said: “To me, I’m not knocking Rafa Benitez – I think he is a brilliant manager – but I think Newcastle, when I go up there, it should just be mad.
“It should be really loud, the games should be mad. There should be incident and excitement. To be fair, some games were always 0-0. Every time I went up there over two years, I was bored. I was bored.”
Goodison Park has a lot of parallels to St James’ Park, in that when the fans are on board, the stadium can be absolutely rocking. It needs a manager at the helm who can embrace that and Benitez simply isn’t that man.
His negative football, and his Red roots, would make him an unforgivable mistake from the Everton board to appoint him.
Toffees fans would be absolutely livid.