Former Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez remains on Everton agenda – report
Talks between Rafa Benitez and Everton remain ongoing with the former Newcastle United still in the frame to replace Carlo Ancelotti at Goodison Park.
The Gazette understands Benitez, and his team, including former Liverpool employees Owen Brown and Frank McParland, were open to a St James’ Park return – and should no Toffees deal agreement transpire, he will remain at the top of the list of potential managerial candidates at Newcastle, provided potential new owners-in-waiting get the Premier League green light.
Benitez and his people played a key role in getting PCP Capital Partners, who head up the largely Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia bid, to the table for a takeover attempt.
However, last week the Spaniard, who has been out of work since leaving Chinese Super League club Dalian Professional in January, was understood to have gone to the top of Everton owner Farhad Moshiri’s managerial wishlist, having seen a bid to prise David Moyes away from West Ham United fail.
Sources suggested the deal was ‘close but not done’.
And more than a week on, Everton remain managerless and Benitez continues to be ‘out of work’.
According to reports in the North West though, talks remain ongoing between Benitez, his representatives and the Toffees’ hierarchy. They do however, claim no appointment is ‘imminent’.
Benitez remains the bookmakers’ favourite to step into the hole left behind by Ancelotti’s Real Madrid departure, with Sky Bet pricing the decorated former Napoli, Liverpool, Chelsea and Inter Milan boss 4/9 to be appointed by Everton.
Former Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo (7/2), Paulo Fonseca (12/1), Graham Potter, Roberto Martinez (14/1) are next best in the betting.
Despite appearing to be Crystal Palace-bound, Lucien Favre is rated as a 16/1 chance of getting the Toffees nod, with one of Ancelotti’s assistants at Goodison, former Newcastle United striker Duncan Ferguson an 18/1 shot.
Elsewhere, United’s takeover looks set to go increasingly legal in the coming weeks with the club’s arbitration hearing set to take place in July, according to court papers.
A decision on how St James’ Holdings Ltd’s Competition Appeal Tribunal case moves forward is also awaited, with no timescale set for progress on that front, at this stage.