RAFA BENITEZ is expected to be named as Everton’s new boss by Monday at the latest.
And with Alisher Usmanov getting his way over the choice of Carlo Ancelotti’s successor the former Liverpool manager could be in charge by tomorrow.
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Sun Sport revealed that Russian oligarch Usmanov has a growing influence behind the scenes at Goodison even if his close friend Farhad Moshiri is majority owner.
It is he who has pushed for Benitez to be brought in – despite opposition from large sections of the Everton support.
Not only because Benitez was Liverpool manager but because he also called the Toffees a “small club.”
Chairman Bill Kenwright is understood to have been dead against bringing in the Spaniard.
But Usmanov, who partnered Moshiri in a 30 per cent holding in Arsenal before both sold out, has persuaded the British Iranian that Benitez, who still has a home on Merseyside, is the right man for the job.
Director of Football Marcel Brands is another within the club’s hierarchy who had doubts about Benitez coming in.
The fact that he will become Moshiri’s fifth full-time manager in five years could compromise the Dutchman’s position especially as the club could be hamstrung in this summer’s transfer market over financial fair play difficulties.
Former Real Madrid boss Benitez brings a strong pedigree with the Spaniard guiding Liverpool to Champions League glory in 2005, although that probably is not fondly remembered on the blue half of Merseyside.
He also led Chelsea to Europa League success in 2013 during his interim spell at Stamford Bridge.
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Benitez helped bring Newcastle back to the Premier League in 2017 and consolidated the side back in the top flight.
His time in China with Dalian Professional was brought to an early end as he left at the start of this year.
But Benitez is poised to return to English football even though he faces a frosty reception from the Everton fans.