If you had doubts over the Everton hierarchy following the departure of Carlo Ancelotti then those have likely now been elevated.
That’s because the Toffees are moving closer to the appointment of Rafa Benitez, a man synonymous with the red side of Merseyside and hated by the blue stretch.
Benitez once dubbed Everton a “small club” but that’s seemingly not been an issue for the senior officials at Goodison Park who want him to be the new manager.
If the Spaniard takes over then he could be well backed in the transfer market. The 61-year-old struggled with the financial constraints at Newcastle but should have no such issues on his return to Merseyside.
With that in mind, how could Everton shape up next season under Benitez?
Here’s our prediction of how things could look if the Spaniard arrives this summer…
We’re tipping much of the side to remain the same but with four new additions to their ranks.
One of the most high profile deals could be at left-back where Real Madrid legend Marcelo has been linked with a move to the Premier League and Everton.
Benitez knows him well from his time at Madrid and could axe Lucas Digne in order to get the £5m defender into his side on a regular basis. It would be harsh on Digne to lose his place, but Benitez may want at least one star player in the side who knows his methods well.
Next to him, in the heart of the defence, is England international Conor Coady.
The Wolves centre-back has been linked with a move to Goodison and despite Nuno Santo no longer in the frame for the job, we reckon Everton should target Coady for his leadership skills anyway. He is currently valued at £22.5m.
Following Andre Gomes’ poor end to last season, Benitez could do with a bit of extra muscle in midfield so that sees Yves Bissouma arrive from Brighton.
The final acquisition is on the right of midfield. The Toffees have been touted with a move for Wilfried Zaha but following a war of words between him and Benitez back in 2018 about referees, they may focus their efforts elsewhere.
As a result, he could favour Bayer Leverkusen’s Moussa Diaby. As revealed by Football FanCast, Everton are in the market for a right-winger this summer and that should not change with the arrival of a new manager.
Overall, that could take Marcel Brands’ spending in the first window under Benitez to a grand total of £101.7m.
It’s important to stress that this is merely our prediction and isn’t indicative of what will definitely play out at Goodison this summer.