It is looking increasingly unlikely that Everton manager Sam Allardyce will still be in charge of the club next season, with the attentions already turning to who could replace him in the media.
Toffees owner Farhad Moshiri brought the 63-year-old in on a contract until the end of the 2018/19 season following back-to-back 5-1 and 4-1 defeats against Atalanta and Southampton respectively in November under caretaker manager David Unsworth, with the club already eliminated from the Europa League and in serious danger of losing their Premier League status for the first time.
The former England boss certainly wasn’t a popular choice at the time for the Goodison Park faithful because of the style of football he likes to play – getting the ball forward as quickly as possible, even if it means playing long balls up to the striker or into the channels.
Moshiri obviously felt as though he had no choice at the time with Watford boss Marco Silva a no-go, and it made sense to appoint Allardyce given he wasn’t attached to any club and had never been relegated from the top flight as a manager.
Everton supporters had to get behind him and the team in order to turn their fortunes around, and the 63-year-old certainly made a good impression with the fans at first as the previously leaky defence only conceded twice in his first seven matches in charge in all competitions.
Things started to go wrong when the Merseyside outfit were beaten 2-1 by Bournemouth on December 30 though, with that loss starting a run of six consecutive defeats on the road – including last weekend’s 2-1 reverse against Burnley at Turf Moor.
These were not all narrow defeats either though, as they were beaten 4-0 by Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley and 5-1 by at the Emirates Stadium within three weeks of each other, with Allardyce failing to learn his lesson in that time after lining up with a 4-3-3 formation against Arsene Wenger’s side having lost against Spurs using a 4-2-3-1 system.
Everton fans’ confidence in their manager is at an all-time low and he is even less popular now than when he initially took the reins, because of poor performances on the pitch and his treatment of some players in recent weeks and months – including Cenk Tosun and Davy Klaassen.
The Daily Star reported on February 28 that Moshiri is already looking for a younger, more dynamic coach to replace Allardyce at the end of the season, with the 63-year-old surely unlikely to continue in his role beyond the climax of the campaign such is the poor relationship he has with the Goodison Park faithful.
The Daily Star reported that the Toffees owner is considering making ambitious moves for Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone or former Barcelona boss Luis Enrique – while on March 5 the same media outlet reported that they were also ready to make a move for under-fire Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
However, all three of those names are too ambitious for the Toffees – with all due respect – and they need to be more realistic; but it doesn’t mean they can’t attract a top coach.
Enter Paulo Fonseca. Everton were linked with appointing him as Ronald Koeman’s successor before they got Allardyce, and the Daily Star says that sources close to Moshiri are still pushing for the 45-year-old to get the job when his contract with the Ukrainian club runs out this summer.
That would mean that the Merseyside outfit wouldn’t have to pay any compensation fee, while they would be getting a manager that looks set to have a huge future in the game.
The Mozambique-born boss has won 63 of his 81 matches in charge of Shakhtar, with his team scoring 179 goals and conceding 75 in that time, while he oversaw a 2-1 victory for his side against Manchester City in the Champions League group stages this season.
They qualified from that group – finishing above Napoli – and beat Roma 2-1 in the first leg of their last 16 tie to leave them in a good position to reach the quarter-finals, and you don’t achieve that unless you have something about you.
That said, he isn’t the finished article – like Everton aren’t – and while they are ambitious, they need a manager that is at a similar stage to them and who will grow with them, and Fonseca looks to be the only candidate to do that with Silva’s departure from Watford earlier this year raising big questions marks over his suitability.
Fonseca has often favoured the 4-2-3-1 and 4-1-4-1 systems during his time with the Ukrainian club, and that should mean that he can get the best out of the wide players that he would have at his disposal in the form of the likes of Theo Walcott, Yannick Bolasie and Ademola Lookman.
While targeting the likes of Simeone and Enrique may be exciting and prove the ambition of Moshiri, Fonseca should be the only candidate considered to replace Allardyce this summer.