Rafael Benitez’s days in Everton are set to end and several candidates have been touted to replace him, including three former players from different eras.

Rafael Benitez is counting his days, or even hours, for his confirmed dismissal after his team’s unexpected defeat against the relegation struggler, Norwich City this weekend. The Spanish boss who once was in charge of The Reds’ glorious eras in mid 2000s has never been able to win the fans’ heart. His fairly convincing start earlier this season did not exactly turn their heads. What’s more, his decision to release one of The Toffees’ marquee player James Rodriguez for free, instead of optimising his potentials, proved to be costly. His side was in need of a player like the Colombian forward who could be a game changer after Dominic Calvert Lewin suffered an injury, whereas the former Leicester man Demarai Gray’s and Andros Townsend’s form has not always been consistent.

Following Benitez’s departure, the club has been considering some names as the successor. Surprisingly, some of them are the former players which could potentially get their chance to lead The Toffees to improve their domestic campaign this season. Here are those tipped candidates:

  • Duncan Fergusson. The current assistant manager seems to be the most reasonable option in the short term, should the club aim for a high-profile name later. The Scottish man, who had two stints in Goodison Park back in mid 1990s and early 2000s as a player, has the experience as the interim manager in 2019 after Marcos Silva was sacked. He guided his team in four games unbeaten run, including thumping Chelsea 3-1. Ferguson returned to his previous post once Carlo Ancelotti was appointed and still keeps his job to this day.
  • Slaven Bilic. The former Croatia head coach was playing for Everton for two years between 1997 and 1999. His most notable record as a manager was when he brought Vatreni to EURO 2008 quarter final after eliminating England at the qualifiers. Bilic then took charge of West Ham after leaving his post in the national team once Luka Modric and Co failed to advance from the group stage in EURO 2012. His first EPL season ended well by guiding The Hammers to finish seventh, the highest one for them in Premier League history before David Moyes’ reign began. His last job for English club was in West Brom in 2020/21 season. The Croatian boss failed to lift their position from the relegation zone after being promoted to the top flight in 2020.
  • Wayne Rooney: The former England international star has begun his managerial career as a player-manager in Derby County once his boss Phillip Cocu was sacked last season. Rooney has been considered of doing an impressive job while saving Derby County from relegation to the third tier in 2020/21. This season, he still manages to lead the Rams with 21 points deducted at the beginning of the season to avoid sitting at the bottom of the table. Rooney’s team have collected eight wins and 11 draw results from 26 games.
  • Frank Lampard. The former Chelsea boss who was replaced by Thomas Tuchel in early 2021 is definitely an ideal one to be at the helm of Everton. He has proven his quality in the less ambitious Chelsea during the transfer ban in 2019/2020 as he guided the Blues to finish fourth and reach FA Cup final. Previously, he took charge of Derby into the promotion playoff though failed. Although he has been linked to the job in Crystal Palace, Norwich City, Aston Villa and Glasgow Rangers, Lampard still remains unattached.
  • Nuno Santo. The Portuguese manager was famous for his stunning spells in Valencia and Wolverhampton before taking the Tottenham job which he lasted for three months only. He brought Los Ches finish fourth in 2014/15 and Wolves sit seventh twice consecutively in 2019 and 2020. The former Porto second goalkeeper also guided Joao Moutinho and Co to progress to Europa League quarter finals in 2020.
  • Ole Solskjaer. If The Toffees want a fairly experienced name taking the team in the mid season and turning it around well at the end of the season, then Ole Solksjaer could be the right man. Ole knows how to recover the old squad's winning mentality in Manchester United and make constant progress by leading them to finish third in 2019 and second plus being Europa League runners-up in 2021. The Norwegian also experienced in building the squad from scratch just like what he did in Molde BK, where he won top tier league twice in 2011 and 2012.