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Rafa Benitez has finalised the small print on contract terms to become the next Everton boss, and is set to be unveiled on Wednesday.
The former Liverpool manager spent the weekend immersed in final negotiations over a three year deal with Blues owner Farhad Moshiri, as several sticking points were ironed out.
And now Moshiri, backed by investor and sponsor Alisher Usmanov, is ready to unveil the Spaniard as the successor to Carlo Ancelotti with the formal announcement due in the next 24 hours.
That will dismay a large portion of the Everton fanbase, who have shown furious resistance to the appointment of a coach so closely associated with the club’s bitter rivals and neighbours.
Benitez is set to be unveiled as the new Everton manager imminently
Some supporters have displayed angry banners suggesting Benitez is not welcome on the blue half of Merseyside, and there was even a sinister message left close to the home of the experienced manager.
That though, has not dissuaded Moshiri and his close ally Usmanov from pushing through with the appointment, even with Director of Football Marcel Brands understood to be opposed to the idea.
Brands wants a collaborative approach at the top, where the coach works in tandem with the football director to identify talent and implement a policy set from the top of the club down.
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That would mean building for the future with promising young talent bought and developed at the club, with former players David Unsworth and Leighton Baines in key coaching positions to bridge the gap between first team and under 23.
Benitez though, generally prefers a more traditional role where the manager makes the transfer decisions, and brings in his own players.
It is thought that some of the final talks were centred on funding for the manager, and the former Newcastle and Chelsea manager will certainly have to be busy this summer, transforming a squad that laboured into 10th in the Premier League table last season.
Will Benitez prove to be a good appointment for Everton? Comment below.
There are several issues pending in the intray, not least the future of three of the highest profile players at the club, in James Rodriguez, Richarlison and Moise Kean.
Kean has made it clear he wants a permanent move to PSG and will not consider any other club – which dramatically reduces the potential price for Everton, who want £40m for the Italian striker.
With Everton facing Financial Fair Play restrictions, Benitez will have to maximise sales, to ensure he has a healthy kitty to bring in the three or four players Ancelotti suggested were still needed.
Richarlison has indicated he may be ready to move on from Goodison, with several Spanish clubs showing interest, and Benitez would not want a player who lacks commitment to the club.
The same applies to Rodriguez, who moved to Everton largely because of the influence of Ancelotti, who was his manager at Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
Madrid have been linked to a move to take him back, while other Spanish clubs are thought to be interested.
Benitez may need to sell at least two players to fund a rebuild of the squad which faded badly towards the end of last season, despite finding themselves in a strong position to push for the top four as late as March.
They won just three of their last 10 Premier League matches, and there was criticism for a lack of passion and commitment from Ancelotti’s squad, which Benitez knows he must address.