Revealed - Another contender drops out of Everton manager race...but Martin O'Neill is STILL not their top choice
Everton remain eager to appoint Watford boss Marco Silva as their next manager, with Independent.ie being told that reports suggesting the Goodison Park hierarchy are close to offering their vacant job to Republic of Ireland head coach Martin O’Neill are wide of the mark.
Everton’s eagerness to appoint a new manager was hastened by their disastrous 5-1 Europa League loss against Atlanta on Thursday night and their 4-1 defeat at Southampton on Sunday, yet O’Neill is still not a first choice candidate among the club’s owners or supporters despite their desperate need to install a boss with proven Premier League experience.
Confirmation on Sunday that German tactician Ralf Rangnick has signed a new contract to continue his role as Sporting Director at Leipzig ruled another rumoured contender out of the job, with O’Neill making no comment either publicly or privately over his links to the Everton job despite mounting rumours in recent days.
O’Neill has yet to put pen-to-paper on the new contract he has agreed to continue as Ireland boss, with bookies installing the 65-year-old tactician as the odds-on favourite to succeed Ronald Koeman at Goodison Park.
His arrival at Everton would be remarkable given the bad blood exchanged between O’Neill and the club over the use of midfielder James McCarthy in the last three years, yet all parties have played down suggestions that a deal to bring the Derryman to Merseyside is about to be confirmed.
Independent.ie understands that Everton remain keen to strike a lucrative compensation deal with Watford to recruit Silva, whose stock continues to rise after his side beat Newcastle 3-0 to move up to eighth place in the Premier League table on Saturday.
However, the Goodison Park hierarchy of Farhad Moshiri and Bill Kenwright may be forced to consider alternative options imminently if Watford hold firm in their eagerness to block Silva’s desire to open discussions over the Everton job.
Hornets officials are aware that Silva is keen at least be allowed to hold talks with Everton just a few months after his arrival at their club last summer last summer, but they have held firm despite several efforts from the Merseyside club to entice their manager away.
Silva is reluctant to go public in his eagerness to talk to Everton, as they could lead to a period of gardening leave that may tarnish his long-term reputation for the long-term.
Now Moshiri and Kenwright are set to make a final push to land Silva, with the duo fully aware they cannot wait too much longer to appoint a replacement to Koeman.
While Kenwright is believed to be an admirer of O’Neill, Everton supporters have reacted negatively to the rumours that the Irishman could be installed as the club’s next manager and that could play a factor in the decisions that are made in the coming days.
A lack of credible contenders could yet see Kenwright consider O’Neill, but Silva remains their first choice candidate and Everton will be privately hoping the Watford boss makes a move that could break the deadlock between the two clubs.