Rafael Benitez will be the next Everton manager
Rafael Benitez will be announced as the new Everton manager on Thursday on a three-year contract.
The Spaniard will be the first former Liverpool manager to move from Anfield to Goodison Park and knows he faces the mammoth challenge of winning over a section of the Everton fanbase opposed to his arrival.
Benitez’s connection to Liverpool, and comments made during the heat of battle in Merseyside derbies between 2004-2010 – on one occasion he called Everton "a little club" – have made his candidacy for the job unpalatable to many Evertonians.
Indeed, a banner threatening him if he completed a move to Goodison, reading "we know where you live", has been placed near his Merseyside home.
However, the dissent of a section of the fanbase is by no means universal. Since Benitez’s name was first mooted, there has been plenty of open-mindedness about the possibility of the Spaniard making the switch, many fans wearying of the constant managerial changes and craving a proven coach with a CV of substance.
Since leaving Anfield, Benitez has managed Inter Milan, Chelsea, Napoli, Real Madrid, Newcastle United, and most recently Dalian Professional of the Chinese Super League.
The Everton board decided Benitez was the right candidate after a difficult recruitment process in which the first choice, ex-manager David Moyes, opted to stay at West Ham United, and the club had second thoughts about Nuno Espirito Santo. At one point Nuno thought the job was his, but that was always pending further discussions with other candidates.
After interviewing so well, Benitez has proved to be a more compelling option, and the last fortnight has been a matter of thrashing out terms.