Following David Moyes’ appointment as Manchester United manager, Everton have been left in the lurch ahead of next season.
If it’s a hard job to replace Ferguson at Manchester United, it will be just as hard for any manager coming into Goodison to replace Moyes, the man who has spent the last eleven years at the club.
Chairman Bill Kenwright has said that he will not rush into a decision as to who should replace Moyes but there is still rife speculation in the press.
Of course, this vacancy needs to be filled as soon as possible. Here is a look at the current contenders for the position.
Roberto Martinez is the bookies current favourite to succeed David Moyes. The Wigan manager is currently celebrating his side’s FA Cup victory. Despite a small budget, Martinez has kept Wigan in the Premier League season after season whilst playing an attractive brand of football.
Although relegation this campaign isn’t out of question, Saturday’s victory over Manchester City will only strengthen his credentials and help his stock rise
Chelsea interim-boss Rafael Benitez is set to leave his current side when his temporary contract expires at the end of the season.
Benitez has confirmed his desire to remain in England and if the club can forgive his Liverpool association, his desire to stay in Merseyside could make his appointment a formality at the end of the season.
Despite having a tough start at Stamford Bridge, the Spaniard has done a fantastic job in charge, guiding the club to a Europa League final and a guaranteed top four finish.
Phil Neville is another candidate to replace Moyes. Everton’s club captain is set to leave Goodison at the end of the season when his contract expires but he has made no secret of his ambition to step into management, and Moyes would be sure to give him a glowing recommendation.
But that situation could become very complicated as there is a possibility of Moyes bringing Neville, who will gain coaching experience this summer at the Under 21 European Championships in Israel, to Old Trafford with him.
FC Porto’s Vitor Pereira is a popular candidate among Everton fans. The 44-year-old has experienced huge success at his current club since replacing Andre Villas Boas two years back.
He guided the side to a league title victory in his first season in charge and the Portuguese giants are currently unbeaten domestically this season. They currently trail Benfica by four points but are set for a close end of season run in to determine the winners of the Portuguese first division.
Michael Laudrup has been a huge success at Swansea since his arrival at the start of the season. He is another name at the top of fans wish-list.
He has led the Swans to their first major silverware by guiding them to Capital One Cup success at the start of the year. However, he recently signed a new deal at the Liberty Stadium and the former Denmark international’s agent, Bayram Tutumlu, insists he will not be on the move.
Cardiff’s Malky Mackay guided his side to the top of the Championship table this season, bringing promotion to the club for the first time in over half a century.
Mackay is well-known to Moyes and it is reported that he has been highly recommended to replace his fellow Scotsman.
Martin O’Neill, Alan Stubbs and Celtic boss, Neil Lennon, are some of the other names being linked to the Everton vacancy. However, I wouldn’t consider these as first-choice options.
Personally, I think we’ll see Roberto Martinez managing at Everton next season, especially if Wigan fail to beat the drop. There’s no denying the Spaniard is a top quality manager and he won’t want to be in charge of a team in the Championship during the next 12 months.
Having turned down moves to Liverpool and Aston Villa in the past. I think this summer we could finally see Martinez take on a new challenge, the Everton position would provide exactly that.
If however, Wigan do stay up this season, I believe Bill Kenwright will opt for Rafa Benitez as the man to take control of the club.