Everton majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri and Bill Kenwright are expected to meet under-pressure manager Sam Allardyce on Wednesday in London to address a tough season for the Toffees.
Sunday’s ghastly 3-1 defeat at West Ham compounded the doom and gloom around the Blues as Everton finished eighth in the Premier League – a far cry from their lowly position just above the relegation zone when Allardyce took the hotseat in November 2017 – but, nevertheless, a disgruntled fan base have grown fed up of the supposed negativity Big Sam brings to the table.
The lacklustre nature of performances, particularly away from home, defensive frailties (Everton conceded 58 league goals over the course of the campaign – the most since 2000-01) and team selection have all added to the chorus of support against Allardyce, with the Wayne Rooney MLS saga being the icing on the cake.
There are, though, many who feel Evertonians are being too cutthroat given that the 63-year-old did the job asked of him. Allardyce, himself, still has 12 months to run on his £6-million-a-year Merseyside deal.
Here, we look at five managers who could come in and replace the ex-England boss if he is given the sack.
The man the Blues tried to get but failed last October. In the end, their pursuit – which would have seen the Toffees shell out up to £10m to prise him away from Watford – was a disaster.
Talk of a move disrupted the stellar job the Portuguese was doing at Vicarage Road. Indeed, his plight really went off the rails as the Hornets registered just a single win in 11 matches and he was shown the door – with Everton taking plenty of the blame – in January.
Silva has been out of work since but is still high up Moshiri’s wishlist given he is young (40 years of age) and plays a brand of easy-on-the-eye football that could appease supporters.
Given West Ham have also emerged as contenders to land Silva, Moshiri and Co will need to move quickly for arguably their No1 target.
The Bournemouth boss was a Blue growing up and has been linked with the job often in the past, especially when Ronald Koeman got the sack. But, having steered the Cherries to another competitive 12th-place berth, the future looks pretty rosy down on the south coast.
Howe is a messiah there and the club is in his blood, with promise of more funds to strengthen and build on their longest-ever stay in the top-flight (three seasons*).
The question for Howe is when does he take that next step? Whenever that question is raised, it seems to do a disservice to Bournemouth, but his ambition is surely higher than settling for mid-table?
Many would argue Everton is not a significant step up, at the moment, but if Moshiri backs Howe with finances, then that coupled with the overall size of the two clubs in comparison, makes it night and day.
A move to Everton could indeed provide Howe with a springboard to a top five side. Bournemouth, however, would be unlikely to allow him the opportunity to leave just yet.
A man with no Premier League experience but nonetheless a name with star quality and a habit of winning trophies – something Everton have lacked in a manager since their last silverware success way back in 1995.
Fonseca has recently secured back-to-back Ukrainian Premier League titles with giants Shakhtar Donetsk, winning the double this season and the treble in his maiden term last year. Known for having an astute tactical knowledge and thorough understanding of the intricacies of European football, the 45-year-old is a viable option.
Moshiri had previously targeted the ex-Braga boss in October and would be sensible to sound him out again, though this does smack of a Frank de Boer-esque scenario particularly if he was appointed and unable to get his ideas across quickly.
Shakhtar would require a hefty sum of at least £15 million compensation while he has no shortage of other admirers, so Everton may not even be on his radar whatsoever.
A proper long shot but a rumour which has had a few legs in the tabloids. At 68, Wenger is unlikely to want to commit to a long-term project nor sees Everton as a viable option.
Financially, Moshiri’s millions may pose some attraction but even his wallet could not convince the Frenchman to take on a job where significant surgery is needed and a complete overhaul of a playing squad, despite the Toffees’ near £200m investment last summer.
Add in other factors like settling in a new part of England, the grind of the Premier League and the emotion of his Arsenal farewell, plus the fact he has had no shortage of other lucrative and more appealing offers, then this is a no-go.
Surely international football beckons for the three-time Premier League winner ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
A manager whose stock is pretty high at the moment after he guided Porto, in his maiden season, to their first Primeira Liga title since 2013.
The 43-year-old former Portugal winger, who enjoyed a decent playing career in Serie A, would bring an attractive style of football while he has often worked on small budgets in the past – a factor that could be the opposite at Goodison Park.
Conceicao’s current salary is low, compared to equivalent pay in the Premier League, but it’s doubtful he would join the Merseysiders purely on financial grounds. He has the Champions League to look forward to next season and a chance to establish the Portugal giants as a strong force again, so don’t expect him to be leaving just yet despite the speculation.
Salah broke the record for the most number of goals in a 38-game campaign when he scored his 32nd in Liverpool’s 4-0 win over Brighton on Sunday.
That saw him win the race for the Golden Boot, finishing two ahead of the Tottenham striker, whose double in a 5-4 win against Leicester took his tally to 30.
That is Kane’s best-ever return, though still not enough to win a third successive Golden Boot, after tallies of 25 and 29 in the previous two years, proving his consistency.
And Kane has challenged Salah to repeat his goalscoring antics next year.
“It’s good to have competition, it’s great for the Premier League to have two players at the 30-goal mark,” he said.
“Personally for me it was a target to improve on last year, obviously 29, and it was nice to get to that 30-goal mark.
“Mo has done great this year, he deserves it, he deserves the Golden Boot, I am looking forward to the competition again next year.
“For me it is about doing it year after year. This is my fourth year now and the first time I have got to 30 goals in the Prem, now it’s about getting to 30 goals for the next two or three years, that’s the aim.
“Any player wants to do it on a consistent basis and that’s what defines a good player from a great player. He has done amazing this year and he looks like a great player and we’ll see if we can both continue it next season.”
Kane’s 30 goals helped Spurs to a third-place finish in the Premier League, ensuring a third successive year of Champions League football – an impressive achievement given they played their home games at Wembley and their top-four rivals spent heavily.
Boss Mauricio Pochettino has appeared to challenge Spurs chairman Daniel Levy to match that spending this summer and “take risks” while also suggesting the club need to review their strategy if they want to start winning trophies.
Despite that, Kane, who is heading to the Bahamas for a week of golf ahead of the World Cup, believes Spurs have had a fine season.
“It has been a good year,” he insisted. “As a team to get in the Champions League was very important in the new stadium.
“It’s not been easy, especially playing here (Wembley) as well.
“The top six now is so strong, everyone’s really competitive, so for us to finish in the top three for a third year in a row is brilliant.”
Spurs said goodbye to Wembley in style with a frantic 5-4 win over Leicester, which denied the Foxes an eighth-placed finish.
That did little to make the future of boss Claude Puel any clearer, but defender Danny Simpson is looking up.
“We have finished ninth and we could have done better,” he said. “There is always room for improvement.
“We will have a break now and it will be an important pre-season to finish higher than ninth next season.”
Here we take a look at our Premier League Team of the Season, which features four players from Pep Guardiola’s title-winning side and three from Liverpool. Stars from Manchester United, Burnley and Tottenham also feature.
GK: David De Gea (Manchester United)
Where would Jose Mourinho’s men have finished without him? Certainly not second in the Premier League. The fact no Manchester United defender comes close to making our Team of the Season should tell you just how important De Gea was. The Spaniard took home the league’s Golden Glove, with 18 clean sheets over the course of the campaign.
RB: Kyle Walker (Manchester City)
It became very apparent why Pep Guardiola was so desperate to sign the Tottenham Hotspur defender last summer. Walker was exceptional for the champions, with his marauding runs from right-back and his pace to recover defensively crucial in the Citizens’ attacking set-up. The England international provided six assists and made more passes between the season start in August to the May climax than any other Premier League full-back.
CB: James Tarkowski (Burnley)
The surprise package of the season, Burnley’s seventh-placed finish is largely down to the excellent defensive solidity Sean Dyche’s men built. While Nick Pope in goal was a revelation, so too was Tarkowski, the man signed from Championship side Brentford. The 25-year-old, who earned an England call-up on the back of his great form, was in the top ten overall for clearances, blocks and headed clearances as the Clarets secured a Europa League spot.
CB: Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur)
Seen by many as slightly inferior to defensive partner Toby Alderweireld, Vertonghen repeatedly displaced his quality without his countryman alongside him this season. Partnered with the impressive, yet sometimes erratic, Davinson Sanchez, Vertonghen saved his side on numerous occasions with excellently-timed tackles and clearances. Having played more passes than any other Spurs man (2,488), his importance in building attacks for Mauricio Pochettino’s team cannot be underestimated. The Belgian made 170 clearances and 64 tackles from the heart of the Spurs defence.
LB: Andrew Robertson (Liverpool)
Not quite the same goal threat as Marcos Alonso, who could perhaps be considered unlucky to miss out, but Robertson’s impact in transforming Liverpool’s defence from shaky to solid cannot be overlooked. The left-back was exceptional after displacing Alberto Moreno in the team in early December, before forming an excellent understanding with January signing Virgil van Dijk. Robertson’s attacking threat was also impressive, as he provided five assists and scored one goal.
RM: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Records tumbled. Opposition crumbled. Salah dazzled. The Egyptian amazed with astonishing regularity during his debut season with Liverpool. 32 goals – the best in a 38-game Premier League season – from a predominantly left-wing position tells you everything you need to know. Add in to that ten assists, and Salah was directly involved in more than 40 Liverpool goals. The 25-year-old has come a long, long way since his Chelsea days.
CM: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
If it wasn’t for Salah, we would be talking about De Bruyne’s season as one of the best ever. The Belgian was sensational in the number eight role alongside David Silva, setting the tone for Pep Guardiola’s champions. To be the standout player in such an impressive side highlights just how instrumental he was. With more assists than any other Premier League player (16) and eight goals, De Bruyne provided us with a midfield masterclass all season long.
CM: David Silva (Manchester City)
The Spaniard – who dealt admirably with personal issues throughout the campaign – seems to get better with age. His ability to find space wherever he is on the pitch is remarkable, while his understanding with De Bruyne and City’s forwards proved vital. With nine goals and 11 assists, Silva was one of five players for Guardiola’s side to be directly involved in 20 goals. The 32-year-old reached that number in just 29 league appearances for the champions.
LM: Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
Sterling’s form for City since his move from Liverpool would have been best described as frustrating before this season. However, under the guidance of Guardiola he has flourished, netting vital goals and providing a constant attacking threat. His late winners against Bournemouth, Huddersfield and Southampton maintained City’s early-season momentum. In total, the England international scored 18 goals and provided 11 assists for Guardiola’s title-winning side.
ST: Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)
The complete forward. Firmino not only delivered goals and assists himself, but he also allowed Salah and Sadio Mane to flourish in the wide positions thanks to his tireless workrate that was invaluable to manager Jurgen Klopp and his high-intensity style of play. The Brazilian scored 15 times and grabbed seven assists for Liverpool. Another player whose efforts this season have been overshadowed by Salah’s incredible form.
ST: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)
No third Golden Boot in a row for Kane – another victim of Salah’s brilliance – but the England international once again showed his predatory instincts, scoring 30 goals in 37 appearances. That included crucial winners against arch-rivals Arsenal, as well as Crystal Palace and West Ham. Kane also grabbed back-to-back hat-tricks, in wins over Burnley and Southampton, as his goals helped fire Pochettino’s side to a Champions League spot once again.
Nick Pope, Lewis Dunk, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Fernandinho, Christian Eriksen, Leroy Sane, Sergio Aguero.