David Unsworth keen to become Everton boss permanently
The highly regarded under-23s manager is likely to face stiff competition for the role
Ronald Koeman: sacked following a dismal run of form. Photograph: Lee Smith/Reuters
David Unsworth is to take temporary charge of Everton and wants to manage the club long term after Ronald Koeman was dismissed 16 months into a three-year contract worth £6 million (€6.7 million) per annum.
Koeman was sacked on Monday afternoon following a dismal run of form that has left Everton third from bottom of the Premier League and with just two wins in 13 games. The decision was taken by Farhad Moshiri, the major shareholder, and it fell to the chairman Bill Kenwright and chief executive Robert Elstone to inform Koeman after he had taken training at Finch Farm. The 54-year-old had told friends on Sunday evening, hours after a 5-2 defeat by Arsenal, that he retained Moshiri’s support.
The Everton hierarchy are considering several candidates to replace the manager lured on a lucrative deal from Southampton in June 2016. Burnley manager Sean Dyche, former Borussia Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel and Carlo Ancelotti have been linked with the vacancy, although there had been no formal approach from Everton to their counterparts at Turf Moor by yesterday evening.
Tuchel, Jürgen Klopp’s successor at Dortmund, is available but is believed to want a club in the Champions League or, ideally, the opportunity to become Ancelotti’s long-term replacement at Bayern Munich next summer. Hoffenheim’s Julian Nagelsmann is likely to provide strong competition for that role.
Unsworth is another candidate to replace Koeman on a permanent basis. The former Everton defender, who has flourished as manager of the club’s under-23s, took charge of one Premier League game following Roberto Martínez’s sacking in 2016 and is expected to reprise his caretaker role for tomorrow’s Carabao Cup tie at Chelsea. The under-23s coach John Ebbrell will also be in the Everton dug-out at Stamford Bridge.
Unsworth (44) is highly regarded within Goodison and, although he lacks managerial experience in the Premier League, would welcome an extended run of games to press his claims for the job.
Moshiri moved to sack Koeman after watching the Arsenal defeat on Sunday, Everton’s seventh loss in 11 matches in all competitions. The former PSV Eindhoven, Valencia and Benfica coach led the club to a seventh-placed finish in his only full season in charge but, despite an investment of almost £140 million in players this summer, Everton’s form has nosedived.
A club statement read: “Everton football club can confirm that Ronald Koeman has left the club. Chairman Bill Kenwright, the board of directors and major shareholder Farhad Moshiri would all like to express their gratitude to Ronald for the service he has given to the club over the past 16 months and for guiding the club to seventh place in last season’s Premier League campaign.”
Steve Walsh’s role
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 spending increased expectations on Koeman but most of the acquisitions have struggled. Gylfi Sigurdsson and Davy Klaassen cost almost £70 million but have had minimal impact and senior players such as Ashley Williams and Morgan Schneiderlin have been badly out of form.
Romelu Lukaku’s £90 million departure for Manchester United and the failure to adequately replace the Belgian international have had a major impact. 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 this season, who shouldered the blame.
Koeman will receive a handsome pay-off from Everton, who had to pay £11 million to Martínez and his backroom team after their departure. Koeman’s assistant at Goodison, his brother Erwin, the fitness coach Jan Kluitenberg and goalkeeping coach Patrick Lodewijks are also expected to leave. The first-team coach Duncan Ferguson may be retained. Guardian service