Sam Allardyce will be sacked as Everton manager within the next 48 hours. And former Hull and Watford boss Marco Silva has emerged as the number one pick to succeed him, despite complications relating to his departure from Vicarage Road.
After weeks of uncertainty over his future, Blues owner Farhad Moshiri will finally pull the trigger on the manager he hired only last November in a desperate attempt then to stop the club’s slide into the relegation zone.
We understand Allardyce will be summoned to a meeting within the next two days to be given the news his contract, that has a year to run, will be terminated.
The veteran boss himself read the writing on the wall last week, when he admitted that far from being confident he would be in charge next season – as he had always previously maintained – the signs were that he had lost the confidence of the Blues board.
Speaking on Sky Sports on Monday night, Allardyce admitted: “Who knows what is going to happen next. The season is over. I’m going to have a meeting with Farhad and then I am going on my holidays.
“I have done what I can; the backroom staff have done all that they can and for me the players have done all they can.”
It was Moshiri who personally interviewed and appointed the former England manager on November 30, with the Blues teetering in 13th place on the fringes of the drop zone.
But despite an immediate new boss bounce with Everton winning their next five matches, Allardyce never remotely came close to winning over the Goodison faithful.
Fans protested about his style of play and began increasingly to boo the manager at matches, culminating in a mass walk out at the end of the final Goodison game of the season, with less than 5,000 normally loyal supporters remaining to give the players their traditional send off.
That threat of supporter action – and ugly scenes at the London Stadium last weekend when Everton fans were seen fighting amongst themselves on the terraces with the manager said to be the catalyst – has persuaded Moshiri to act.
It is understood he has already spoken to both Silva and Shaktar Donetsk manager Paulo Fonseca, along with several other candidates, but has always regarded Silva as his number one choice since first trying to land him back in November.
The 40 year old was sacked by Watford in January when results dipped following Everton’s approach in January. At the time, the club issued a statement blaming that approach for their decision to replace Silva.
“The club is convinced…had it not been for the unwarranted approach by a Premier League rival for his services we would have continued to prosper under his leadership,” the statement read.
“The catalyst for this decision is that unwarranted approach, something which the Board believes has seen a significant deterioration in both focus and results to the point where the long-term future of Watford FC has been jeopardised.”
The problem for Everton now will be the claim that their initial approach was an illegal one, and if that is proved then they could be forced to pay significant compensation – and possibly even face disciplinary action.
Silva had a break clause in his contract with Watford which would have allowed him to leave at ‘low cost’ this summer, but Watford are likely to argue that is void because of Everton’s approach.
Moshiri will attempt to negotiate a solution with the Premier League club, and that could be completed in the next few days. Only if that proves impossible will he turn to Fonseca.
The sacking after just five and a half months comes as a low point at Goodison following Moshiri’s takeover of the club.
He had originally allowed chairman Bill Kenwright to guide the day to day running of the club, but has increasingly moved the operations away from the former owner and chief executive Robert Elstone, with neither thought to be involved in the decision to hire or fire Allardyce.
Instead, Moshiri has called on the wisdom of new advisors, with football deal maker Keith Harris thought to be in line to take a position at the club in the coming weeks, amid rumours that Kenwright could depart.
Fans have already grown weary of the lack of direction of the new regime following years of stability if not financial muscle, and Moshiri knows he can make no more mistakes with his next appointment.