Everton’s pursuit of a new manager following Carlo Ancelotti’s swift departure to Real Madrid may have taken a surprise turn.
61-year-old Ancelotti left Goodison Park earlier this week to take up the reigns at the Santiago Bernabeu, replacing the outgoing Zinedine Zidane.
Ancelotti had steered Everton to a 10th placed Premier League finish this term, a disappointing placement considering the Toffees were top of the league at one point during the campaign.
To miss out on European football will have been a blow, but even if Everton had managed to secure it, the lure of Real Madrid would more than likely have been too strong.
Ancelotti returns to Real Madrid for a second stint, having managed the La Liga outfit between 2013-15, winning a Champions League in that time – one of his 15 major trophies as a manager.
Thoughts now turn to who will replace the Italian at Goodison Park, with former Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe, ex-Wolves coach Nuno Espirito Santo and even West Ham manager David Moyes linked with the vacant post in what would be an eyebrow-raising move back to Merseyside following an excellent season at the helm of the Hammers.
However, Everton could go from one Italian to another if the murmurings in the continental press are anything to go by.
Former Chelsea gaffer Maurizio Sarri has emerged as a surprise contender for the job, with Sarri’s agent suggesting there is a chance he could return to the Premier League.
Italian publication Calciomercato highlight that Sarri is in talks with Lazio over their vacant position having lost out on the Roma role to Jose Mourinho – but is reluctant to come to an agreement with the Serie A club just yet.
As such, both parties are said to have agreed a 48 hour window to decide whether ‘there is a future together’, as reported by Sport Witness.
Although Sarri is allegedly keen to return to coaching in Serie A, with the wages that Ancelotti was on at Everton – one of the highest managerial pay-packets in world football – no wonder the Italian is keeping his options open.
The suggestions that Sarri could be Everton’s new gaffer are only ripples in the Mersey at the moment, but it’s understood by Friday there should be a clearer understanding.
Him holding a Lazio scarf aloft by then is about as clear an indication as you can get. One to watch.