Roberto Martinez is the leading candidate to replace Rafael Benitez as Everton manager, sources have told ESPN.
Former Everton forward Wayne Rooney, now managing Championship club Derby County, is being linked with a return to Goodison, but sources have told ESPN that Martinez is the leading contender at this stage.
Martinez, who spent three years in charge at Everton between 2013-2016, is being considered as both a short-term option and long-term successor to Benitez by senior figures at the club.
Having guided Belgium to qualification for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar later this year, Martinez’s determination to see through the job he started in 2016 could prevent him taking the Everton job on a full-time basis until after the tournament.
But having missed out on a return to Everton last summer due to the decision of owner Farhad Moshiri to hire former Liverpool boss Benitez, Martinez is now the leading candidate to go back to the club due to his success with Belgium and reputation for playing attractive, attacking football.
Martinez was favoured by Marcel Brands, who left his role as Everton director of football in late-2021, when Carlo Ancelotti left the club for Real Madrid last summer. But although he was regarded as Brands’ candidate, he retains support at Goodison.
Assistant manager Duncan Ferguson is expected to take charge of Everton against Aston Villa next Saturday, enabling the club to spend time during the international break which follows to appoint an interim or permanent manager.