Mourinho links to Everton indicate lack of strategy in manager search

With the news that the Belgian FA have blocked a move by Everton for Roberto Martinez, there are new stories the club may now turn to Jose Mourinho.

Once more, this sort of story – if there is anything more to it than just media speculation – indicates the chronic lack of strategic thinking by Everton as they search again for a new manager.

It really does seem as though the club simply come up with a list of all the names they’ve heard of and who the media are circulating and just plumb for one or other of them.

The idea of bringing back Martinez was simply bizarre and as I said yesterday, hopefully the Belgian FA’s stance will put the tin hat on that one.

Now, the Daily Mirror is claiming that Mourinho is another coach being considered by the board as they try and find the Toffees sixth manager in six years since Farhad Moshiri took control.

The Blues owner does seem very partial to having a ‘big name’ manager in the dugout and Mourinho is about the only one left that he could conceivably get and hasn’t brought in yet.

So, now he’s apparently in the frame for the job although Roma’s compensation package were this to happen, would be significant and possibly prohibitive given Everton’s financial situation.

In truth, the one big name coach Moshiri really wanted and finally got was of course Carlo Ancelotti. That December day back in 2019 when the Italian walked through the gates at Goodison Park to be unveiled as the new Everton manager, you could see his delight in finally getting the man he had always sought.

To be fair, most of us Evertonians were also very happy to see a manager of Ancelotti’s credentials arriving on Merseyside.

Then after one full season that started brightly and faded, ultimately ending in frustration and a mid-table finish, the ex-Milan and Chelsea coach walked away to return to another of his former clubs; Real Madrid.

I wrote last summer that I felt this was the moment when Moshiri lost any real remaining commitment to success on the pitch. I think now he simply wants some footballing stability giving the club enough time to build the new stadium so he can sell it and move on.

And, after Ancelotti’s departure the decision was made to bring in a man who was supposed to provide that stability and keep the team treading water at least.

Of course, Rafa Benitez couldn’t do that and so after leaving him in post for weeks when it was clear a change was not only needed but also inevitable, the club have finally called time on his seemingly always ill-fated reign.

Moving on from Benitez to Mourinho would be very much the wrong decision and represents going from one coach who the game has passed by with a ton of baggage, to another.

The fundamental problem with Benitez wasn’t his Liverpool connections, at least not for me, but his outdated football mentality and tactics. In addition, his stubborness and handling of players has also proved controversial and costly. These are all things that also go against Mourinho.

One of the most frustrating and ridiculous aspects of this latest fiasco is that a quality player Lucas Digne has departed because of Benitez, just a few days before he was then sacked!

I had been critical of Digne’s form and attitude and so I don’t think his leaving is necessarily simply because of Benitez’s stubborness, perhaps he simply brought things to a head, but despite that Everton would be a stronger team with him still in it.

I’m sure too that whoever eventually takes over as manager would have preferred to have the French international in his squad.

Anyway, coming back to the future manager, as I’ve argued before I think the Toffees need to come up with a clear strategic plan about what they want if they are gonig for a permanent replacement this month.

There is an argument that the club should wait until the summer to make a permanent appointment, but it looks as though they don’t want to do that with the possibility of relegation looming.

That plan should include a progressive and modern style of play but also one that recognises the importance of getting the basics right. They need a younger coach who can impliment this and look to build something solid for the long-term to ensure the team is competitive when they do move into the new ground at Bramley-Moore Docks.

It also means thinking outside the box of just the usual suspects and trying to identify a manager, perhaps from the Championship, who can impliment that kind of plan.

We’ve said this many times before, but Everton have to get this decision right and be able to stick with the manager they choose for more than six months or a year, as they simply can’t afford to keep doing this chaotic firefighting season after season.

If they cannot overcome this instability, I fear relegation will eventually happen, if not this season then maybe next.