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Report: Everton face European competition for ‘exemplary’ manager who’s ‘football obsessive’

Fiorentina could rival Everton for the services of Rafa Benitez as their next manager, according to La Nazione.

The Serie A side are searching for a new coach after Gennaro Gattuso walked out after just 23 days in the job. The former AC Milan and Napoli boss clashed with La Viola over their transfer plans as they pushed more affordable targets.

Gattuso was keen to utilise his agent, Jorge Mendes, to strengthen the squad at the Artemio Franchi Stadium. Capitalising on his vast client list to sign the likes of Porto midfielder Sergio Oliveira and Valencia winger Goncalo Guedes.

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Vincenzo Italiano was the number one candidate for Fiorentina in their efforts to quickly replace Gattuso. But talks have not worked out as he would have to pay €1.8m (£1.5m) to leave Spezia, plus further compensation from La Viola.

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Paulo Fonseca has now emerged as an option after leaving Roma and his talks with Tottenham Hotspur breaking down. But Benitez is also being considered for a return to managing in Italy after spells with Napoli and Inter Milan.

Benitez is the frontrunner to be the next Everton manager, per the Liverpool Echo, four weeks after Carlo Ancelotti quit. Talks are on-going to appoint the 61-year-old – who wants to take the job – despite backlash from supporters.

Everton had hoped to finalise their search by the early part of this week, but are yet to reach an agreement. Farhad Moshiri now faces competition from Europe to appoint Benitez, who has been out of work since leaving Dalian Pro.

Everton must move to beat Fiorentina to Benitez

Everton must move to beat Fiorentina to appointing Benitez if Moshiri wants the former Liverpool boss as his next manager. The Toffees owner would be digging in his heels to hire the Spaniard against the unease of supporters.

But Moshiri knows he must make the right choice as Everton look for a fifth coach in as many years. And while fans are against Benitez, he will bring a set approach to the job that could iron out any bumps for the next one in charge.

Benitez is lauded by lots of those who played under him before. Ex-Liverpool striker Peter Crouch is one, and the former England striker could not praise him any more for the Daily Mail:

“I could not have any more admiration for Rafa than I do. The man is a football obsessive and when I see pictures of him walking his dogs, I expect them to be in formation! His attention to detail is exemplary and he devotes every second of every day to the game.”

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