After 37 days without a manager, Everton have finally settled on a new boss: Sam Allardyce is in the final stages of finalizing terms with the club and will be named the next Toffees manager in the next 24 to 48 hours.
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Everton made the announcement on Wednesday, hours before the scheduled kickoff of their Premier League clash with fellow strugglers West Ham United (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold) at Goodison Park. The Toffees, who fired Ronald Koeman on Oct. 23 and have been led by interim boss David Unsworth ever since, enter the unlikely relegation battle in 17th place; West Ham sit 18th. Unsworth, who has amassed a record of 1W-1D-2L in the PL, will remain in charge against the Hammers.
In the days following Koeman’s departure, Allardyce was quick to withdraw his name from consideration for the job, but as Everton grew more and more desperate — after failing to land Burnley’s Sean Dyche or Watford’s Marco Silva, among others perhaps — owner Farhad Moshiri returned to one of the more obvious candidates this week as it became more and more apparent that the club must quickly pick itself or face a genuine relegation fight between now and May.
Allardyce has long been lauded a master battler of relegation, but two questions come to mind when considering that reputation: 1) how did it get this bad, that a relegation specialist is required; and, more importantly, 2) assuming Allardyce keeps them up, is he the one to rebuild this thing from the ground up starting in May?
David Unsworth loves Everton, but hates the performance of his rudderless team.
The caretaker manager and longtime Toffee wasn’t at a loss for words after a 4-1 shellacking at the hands of Southampton on Sunday
“It’s killing me,” he said.
[ RECAP: Saints 4-1 Everton ]
Unsworth has called the Everton job his dream job, but the Toffees have failed to do much of anything since cutting ties with Ronald Koeman.
They remain just two points clear of the drop zone. From the BBC:
“Confidence is as low as it has ever been. The club has to decide and the sooner that happens the better. The players need this resolving. What I see is a happy squad but I’d rather have an unhappy squad that’s winning. I want what’s best for the club and I hope the players do too.”
In other words, Everton’s squad is a sated bunch despite the losses. Somewhere, Koeman is smirking (He loves a smirk, though, to be fair).
Many fearful Everton supporters and neutral pundits have called for Sam Allardyce due to his record of never being relegated, but if a club feels it has to go with a domestic boss with a record might we suggest Tony Pulis? At least there’d be less “me first” talk after games…
Watford has turned down a second approach from Everton for manager Marco Silva.
The wildly-disappointing Toffees fired manager Ronald Koeman on Oct. 23, are coming off a thrilling come-from-behind win, coincidentally over Watford.
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That victory was caretaker manager David Unsworth‘s first in four outings in charge of the club, with Chelsea, Leicester City, and Lyon taking the other three.
Watford issued a rebuke of Everton’s desires after a Monday approach, but Everton apparently went back to the well on Wednesday. No dice.
Everton spent in the neighborhood of $200 million this summer on players like Gylfi Sigurdsson, Jordan Pickford, Sandro Ramirez, and Michael Keane amongst others.
A coach like Silva, who nearly saved Hull City’s Premier Legaue status before leading a resurgent Watford this season, is certainly capable of righting Everton’s ship. That said, reports say Watford has no interest in letting him walk at any price and Silva is said to not want to rock the boat.
On the plus side for Everton supporters, at least Sam Allardyce declared himself out of the running for the gig. Looks like Unsworth will have more time to make his case to Bill Kenwright, Farhad Moshiri, and Co.
Diego Simeone is atop Everton’s wish list to replace fired manager Ronald Koeman, according to Sky Sports.
The outlet says Simeone is unlikely to leave Atletico Madrid in the middle of a campaign, meaning Everton’s next manager could be signing a deal through the end of this season.
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The Toffees are just outside the Premier League’s drop zone after 11 matches, though many believe they have too much quality to spend the season in a relegation battle.
Simeone has a contract at Atletico Madrid through 2020, and Atleti sits tied with Real behind Barcelona and Valencia in La Liga.
The three-time La Liga Coach of the Year has won one league title, a Europa League crown, and led Atleti to a pair of Champions League Finals.
Also in the mix are Sam Allardyce, caretaker boss David Unsworth, and Watford leader Marco Silva.
Longtime Everton servant Leighton Baines was a man of two minds.
For one, the left back knows the club’s big spending summer should have it much better than 15th in the table. This helps to show his non-plussed expression in the moments after Everton completed a 3-2 comeback win over Watford on Sunday at Goodison Park.
[ RECAP: Everton 3-2 Watford ]
But he also knows his team won a thriller, one that gives caretaker manager David Unsworth a not insignificant three points after losing his first three matches in charge of his longtime club.
From the BBC:
“Nothing to get carried away with, the sort of win we should be getting but we showed the character Unsy deserves. I’m sure the fans would have really felt the emotion. When we conceded the penalty it summed up how it’s gone for us.
“David Unsworth deserves more than what he’s had from us in terms of results. He’s been magnificent. The way he’s conducted himself, he’s been faultless. It is extra special to give him the result he deserved.”
Everton is unlikely to go with Unsworth long term, but the fight back was impressive with goals from Oumar Niasse, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and Baines.
As for Unsworth, he’s brimming with the performance, and not counting on anything:
“Whatever will be will be. I have been the proudest man in the world to take charge for the last two weeks and no one can take that away from me. I know nothing about it. I’m sure I’ll speak to the chiarman and owner and I’ll keep giving my best for this wonderful club.”
Now comes the international break. Regardless of who’s in charge when it ends, Everton’s players owe the supporters more efforts like Sunday’s final half hour.