We are not even a quarter of the way through the 2017-18 Premier League season, and already we have our third managerial vacancy. Everton parted ways with Ronald Koeman on Monday, less than 24 hours after a thorough 5-2 thrashing from Arsenal, and joined Crystal Palace and Leicester City in starting anew after troubling early results.
The Everton job is a significant step above the other two, and will at least draw the ears of some well known candidates. The club has finished in the top flight’s top 11 for 13 consecutive seasons, and is coming off a summer during which it spent £140 million.
But dig a little deeper, and the current situation is less appealing. Those £140 million were grievously mismanaged. The club currently sits in the relegation zone. And although it surely won’t stay there, the squad is grossly unbalanced, both in terms of its make-up and seemingly its wage structure. It is a long way away from competing with the Big Six.
So in light of all that, who could Everton realistically woo to replace Koeman? And who should it target?
The answer to the latter depends on the club’s aspirations. There are certain candidates that would ensure a comfortable and quick return to mid-table, but potentially nothing more. There are others that would represent a bit more ambition. Both profiles are viable options. And both are represented on the following list of candidates for Everton to consider.
1. Sean Dyche, Burnley
Dyche has understandably emerged as the early favorite. He’d be a very solid hire. He has Burnley up in eighth place after nine games, and has consistently overachieved since taking charge of the Clarets in 2012. The questions are: Can his route-one style succeed at anything above a mid-table level? And would he even want the job? Would he leave Burnley two months into the season?
2. David Moyes, unattached
Moyes was responsible for nine of Everton’s consecutive top-11 finishes, and was a beacon of consistency in a profession bereft of it. His career went astray when he left for Manchester United in 2013, and he’s failed at Real Sociedad and Sunderland since, but would a return to Everton put both him and the club back on track?
The problem is the situation last decade is different from the current one. Moyes was so successful (by non-Big Six standards) because he was able to mold the club to his liking. Would Everton have the patience for a longer-term reclamation project? And would the 54-year-old Moyes have it?
3. Sam Allardyce, unattached
Allardyce’s name comes up every time a vacancy does nowadays. He has even reportedly expressed interest in the U.S. men’s national team job. And there’s a reason he’s constantly in the mix. His track record – corruption scandal aside – is strong. He’s probably the safest pick of the lot. But he’s 64, and offers little beyond a promise of a return to eighth- or ninth-place normalcy.
4. David Unsworth, Everton reserves
Unsworth, a former Everton player and the current under-23 coach, will take over as caretaker boss. Some seem to believe he’s a candidate for the permanent job. He’s unproven compared to the first three names on this list, but he’s paid his dues and might deserve a shot.
5. Eddie Howe, Bournemouth
Howe would have been above Dyche on this list had the Everton job opened up at any point last season. But he’s endured a rough start to the season at Bournemouth, so isn’t a hot name right now. His style is more in line with Everton’s ambition, though.
6. Chris Coleman, Wales
Coleman’s Welsh national team failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup after a surprising run to the Euro 2016 semifinals. His players have reportedly urged him to stay on, but a Premier League job could tempt him. However, he hasn’t managed in England since 2010, and not in the Prem since a four-year run at Fulham last decade.
7. Ryan Giggs, unattached
Giggs has expressed interest in the job, but has no managerial experience outside of a brief interim stint at Manchester United following Moyes’ sacking. He left his assistant role at United when Jose Mourinho arrived.
8. Mikel Arteta, Manchester City assistant
Arteta is beloved at Everton from his playing days, and is currently one of Pep Guardiola’s top assistants at Manchester City. But he, like Giggs, would be a gamble due to his lack of experience in a top job.
9. David Wagner, Huddersfield Town
If we’re mentioning Dyche (and Howe), we have to mention Wagner, right? He has Huddersfield off to a fantastic start, and seems like the next in line for a shot at a second-tier job. But there have been no links to the Everton vacancy.
10. Carlo Ancelotti, unattached
He’s the second-favorite at some betting sites because he’s a big name, and because he was recently sacked by Bayern Munich. But it would be very surprising to see him re-emerge at Everton.