Everton could be going from one UEFA Champions League-winning manager to another, as Rafa Benitez is close to taking the reins of another Merseyside club after Carlo Ancelotti left for Real Madrid.
The Toffees had been reported as being in “advanced talks” with another celebrated PL manager, Nuno Espirito Santo, as recently as last week.
Benitez famously led Liverpool to the 2004-05 Champions League crown, and has twice won the UEFA Cup (Valencia, Chelsea).
The 61-year-old also won La Liga with Valencia and has collected trophies at Inter Milan, Napoli, and Newcastle United.
And he still lives in Liverpool.
There could be plenty of animosity from both sides of the city as fans of the rivals come to terms with the idea, but the fact is that Benitez is a demanding manager with plenty of experience in lining his teams up to win.
He captured the hearts of Newcastle in a short stint there by getting the eventually relegated Magpies to overperform, then shockingly stayed with the club to guide them back to the Premier League.
Benitez had a questionable relationship with Everton star James Rodriguez while at Real Madrid, but there are plenty of pieces there who would fit in a Rafa recipe. Think about Allan, Richarlison, Lucas Digne, Dominic Calvert-Lewin.