Ronald Koeman fired by Everton after Arsenal defeat
Dutchman sacked with Toffees in relegation zone after a disastrous start to the season
Everton have fired manager Ronald Koeman following Sunday’s 5-2 defeat to Arsenal. Photograph: Peter Powell/EPA
Ronald Koeman has been sacked by Everton following a dismal run that has left the club third from bottom of the Premier League.
The Dutchman was hired on a £6m-a-year contract in June 2016 and led Everton to a seventh-placed finish in his only full season in charge. However, following an investment of almost £140m in players this summer, Everton’s form has nosedived.
Sunday’s 5-2 home defeat by Arsenal was Everton’s seventh loss in 11 matches in all competitions and signalled the end of the board’s patience in the former Southampton manager. Koeman was informed of the decision, taken by the major shareholder, Farhad Moshiri, and the chairman, Bill Kenwright, on Monday morning. David Unsworth, the under-23s coach, is likely to take charge of the Carabao Cup tie at Chelsea on Wednesday.
A club statement read: “Everton can confirm that Ronald Koeman has left the club. Bill Kenwright, the board of directors and Farhad Moshiri would all like to express their gratitude to Ronald for the service he has given over the past 16 months and for guiding the club to seventh place in last season’s Premier League campaign.”
It was only three weeks ago, following a home defeat by Burnley, that Moshiri insisted Koeman retained his “total support”. Since then, however, Everton have needed a 90th-minute penalty to draw at Brighton and Hove Albion, lost at home to Lyon in the Europa League, thereby extending the worst start made by an English team in the competition, and been routed at home by Arsenal.
The summer’s heavy spending increased expectations on Koeman but, with the exception of the £30m goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and Wayne Rooney, most of the acquisitions have struggled. Gylfi Sigurdsson and Davy Klaassen cost almost £70m but have had minimal impact and senior players such as Ashley Williams and Morgan Schneiderlin have been badly out of form.
Romelu Lukaku’s £90m departure for Manchester United and the failure to adequately replace the Belgium international have had a major impact on Everton’s form. There will be questions asked of Steve Walsh’s performance this summer as director of football but ultimately it was Koeman, who has struggled to find a settled or effective side all season, who shouldered the blame.
The 54-year-old had more than 18 months remaining on his contract and will walk away with a handsome payoff, as did Roberto Martínez when he was sacked by Moshiri last year.