Carlo Ancelotti was appointed Everton manager after leaving Napoli, last summer. The left field appointment came with raptures of joy from Goodison, as they finally landed the man that would drive them back towards the European places, or so they thought.
Ancelotti stands amongst the greats of the managerial game as a serial winner and household name. His exploits at AC Milan, Juve, Real Madrid, Chelsea, PSG, Bayern Munich and Napoli, probably put him out of Everton’s reach. For Carlo (with a body of work second to none) to accept the position was a tremendous coup for the blues, until the finer points were looked at. Carlo had historically arrived at clubs that were in a strong, competitive condition. He would often take on the role, with the appointing club looking to upgrade or ensure that final push to silverware. Even if the club had been competitive in the recent past, Ancelotti’s name carried great weight, and he was an upgrade on nearly all working coaches with his appointment. With Everton, he was taking on a job (whilst approaching the final years of his illustrious career) that he had never really encountered before. Napoli had some similarities, however, Everton represented a team settled into a second tier status, at best.
Everton have been in transition for decades now, and not since the departed David Moyes have they been a consistent threat to the supposed big 6, within the Premier League. Despite new ownership and substantial money invested, the structure and turnover of managers has often left the playing squad very unbalanced. With Dominic Calvert-Lewin leading the line with power and class last season, it is clear that Carlo’s experience and pedigree had managed to push his young striker to the next level. It is however a question as to whether he was ever able to inspire and regenerate a whole side, over time. A disappointing seasons end was clear, and this may point to why Carlo was so quick to accept a return to Spain.
There are those within the league (for when funds becomes available), can become somewhat excitable and erratic in the market. The Gareth Bale money was spread out far too widely in a frenetic summer, to leave Tottenham inconsistent and unfamiliar, some years back. The in coming Mauricio Pochettino was able to mould, add pieces and reshape his side into a competing force. When Aston Villa re-entered the Premier League, the owners bank rolled a massive spree that again produced an instability that needed time to correct itself. Despite the massive amounts of money invested in the squad that first season back, Villa nearly dropped out of the league due to the imbalance created. This last season has seen a more targeted recruitment policy, and thus a more settled campaign followed. The next step for them and Dean Smith is already underway with Emiliano Buendia added, in a very smart deal.
When appointing Carlo Ancelotti, Everton replaced Marco Silva, who replaced Sam Alladyce, who replaced Ronald Koeman, who replaced Roberto Martinez, who was the successor to David Moyes. Each replacement manager( since Moyes), represented a shift in recruitment to suit the new manager. The squad turn over became a real issue, until Carlo arrived and added just a few key components.
The final league position Ancelotti achieved is commendable given the recent disappointments, though early signs did promise more. Allan was brought in as a vastly experienced & elite central midfielder. James Rodriguez was signed (in part due to he & Carlo’s previous connection at Madrid), and was effective at times, given his undoubted talent. Both players, when fit, allowed others to raise their game, with a culture to each players football. But now Carlo has jumped ship for the frying pan of Madrid, it leaves a huge issue of, what next for Everton…?
Madrid appeared to have become an issue club this past season, and now a mini rebuild awaits Ancelotti. Prior to his appointment, Antonio Conte should have been topping any list, though his dogmatic style is probably not a lure. With his Inter departure & winning mentality, he could have reshaped and moulded a team capable of so much more. A move for Conte never happened, and it appears that with Zinedine Zidane stepping away, a move for more familiar hands of Ancelotti, was the preference.
Everton would have been overjoyed at Ancelotti’s Goodison appointment last year. As a manager able to recruit on name alone, it was seen as a coup for the Toffees to land such an established figure. With his sudden resignation still raw, Nuno Gomes & Rafa Benitez seem the names most widely mentioned to replace him. The idea that Rafa could align with the blue half of merseyside is a very complicated subject. Given the many levels that Liverpool still sit above their local rivals, Liverpool fans would probably find his appointment acceptable. The admiration that is felt for the Spaniard (on the red half of merseyside), is unwavering, though the blues feeling will be in stark contrast. Despite being a once elite manager, his appointment would never be accepted by the Everton faithful, no matter how well matched his skills are. The sly comments by Rafa during his Liverpool reign, and the fact that Liverpool’s Champions League win in 2005/06 overshadowed Everton’s form that year, is hard to forget. The complications in appointing Rafa would derail any lift that could be garnered, thus the move looks unlikely.
Based upon that comment, Rafa will no doubt be unveiled the moment this article drops
Nuno Gomes is an intriguing manager, with the potential to drive the club forward a few steps. His achievements inevitably stagnated with the loss of Diogo Jota to Liverpool & the unfortunate injury to Raul Gimenez. Wolverhampton Wanderers’ inability to recruit sufficiently last summer, saw Nuno step away after a disappointing year, and his availability may suit the roster at Everton. With an abundance of central defensive options, his preferred 3-4-3 could suit both club and manager. The question will arise at some point as to the continued allegiance of James Rodrigues, who will have been dismayed at the Carlo exit for sure.
This summer at least gives Everton a small buffer, with the European Championships delaying much of the expected transfer activity. With a window of opportunity closing, the blues must move to reaffirm the managerial position at Goodison Park, so that a structure can be realigned.
Whether it be Rafa, Nuno, Graham Potter or a soon departed National manager, the hope within the fan base will be that further strides can be taken to catch their fierce red rivals. With the correct appointment, the blues could start to build a long standing stability within the club, and finally appease a their loyal support.