Everton target Ronald Koeman to replace Roberto Martínez

Support for manager had been draining from fanbase, players and boardroom

Ronald Koeman (left) with Roberto Martínez during the English Premier League game between Everton and Southampton at Goodison last month. Photograph: Getty.

Ronald Koeman (left) with Roberto Martínez during the English Premier League game between Everton and Southampton at Goodison last month. Photograph: Getty.

 

Everton want Ronald Koeman to succeed Roberto Martínez as manager and hope to lure the Dutch coach from Southampton with the promise of the biggest transfer budget in the club’s history.

Farhad Moshiri, Everton’s new major shareholder, sacked Martínez on Thursday and has earmarked Southampton’s manager as his preferred replacement. The British-Iranian billionaire faces a challenge to prise the 53-year-old from St Mary’s, however, even with Koeman yet to commit to a new contract and having just over 12 months remaining on his deal. But Everton hope a transfer budget swelled by Moshiri’s investment, the new broadcasting deal and lucrative player sales - with Romelu Lukaku and John Stones likely to leave this summer - will persuade Koeman to move to Goodison.

Koeman’s agent is Guido Albers who, intriguingly, touted another of his clients - Frank de Boer - for the Everton job at the weekend. Ajax announced on Thursday that De Boer is to leave in the aftermath of their failure to win the Dutch title on the final day of the Eredivisie season, losing out to PSV Eindhoven on goal difference.

De Boer, who won four league titles during his five and a half years with the Amsterdam club, is also under consideration by the Everton board. Albers said the 45-year-old “would love to join a club like Everton” but there has been no approach for the former Holland defender so far. De Boer will join Ajax on their end of season tour of China today and part company upon their return next Thursday.

Moshiri brought Martínez’s three-year reign to an end following a dire run of form, a second poor Premier League season and clear evidence of support draining for the manager from the fanbase, players and the boardroom, although the chairman Bill Kenwright was reluctant to part company with the former Wigan manager.

Everton have won only one of their past 10 matches and their latest anaemic performance, the 3-0 reverse at Sunderland, came with the manager demanding a reaction to a feeble 3-1 loss at Leicester.

Martínez and his players were on a scheduled day off from the club’s training ground yesterday, when the board discussed his position once again. It had been precarious since what Martínez had described as a “defining week” produced a shambolic defeat at Liverpool in the derby plus a stoppage-time loss to Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final.

The decision was taken yesterday to spare the 42-year-old from a hostile Goodison in the final game of the season on Sunday. Everton also postponed the end-of-season awards dinner at St George’s Hall yesterday in the wake of the sacking after some fans planned to protest against the running of the club. Duncan Ferguson and David Unsworth, the first-team coach and under-21s coach respectively, will take charge of the final game against relegated Norwich City along with the former manager and striker Joe Royle.

Confirmation of Martínez’s departure followed the resolution of talks between Everton and the Spaniard’s representatives over a severance payment. The manager had three years remaining on the lucrative contract he was given by Everton at the end of his first season in 2014. He is believed to have earned at least £3m a year and the club will be left with a substantial severance payment for his pay-off and those of the backroom staff. The assistant manager Graeme Jones is believed to have already left while the first-team development coach Dennis Lawrence, goalkeeping coach Inaki Bergara and chief scout Kevin Reeves are also expected to leave.

Everton are 12th in the Premier League and lost both domestic cup semi-finals this season. Last season’s 11th-place finish was their lowest in nine years and, having won 21 league games during his debut campaign, Martínez oversaw only 22 league wins in the past two seasons. The former manager has worked tirelessly on improving the academy and training-ground facilities but results cost him support and ultimately his job. Guardian Service

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