Everton manager Rafa Benitez insists he has the backing of the club’s board amid rumours they are looking at potential replacements.
The Toffees sit 14th in the Premier League after losing four of their last five matches. That includes a one-sided derby defeat to Liverpool and a disappointing loss at the hands of Crystal Palace last time out.
Benitez’s tactics have come into question, with his side failing to play an expansive style of football. And his strong links with Liverpool mean many Everton fans do not have the same allegiances as they would with other managers.
Rumours of the Spaniard’s potential sacking first came about on November 29. The Everton board were said to be looking at Denmark boss Kasper Hjulmand as his successor.
Those links continue to intensify as the Merseyside club slip down the table. There is now a second manager in the frame, too.
The Sun claim informal talks have already been held with former player Wayne Rooney.
He is currently the boss of Championship club Derby County but may be tempted by a return to Goodison Park.
Benitez is putting up a fight however, as shown by his latest admission. The 61-year-old said (via Express): “I was talking with Mr Moshiri [the owner] this morning. I have meetings with the chairman, with Denise [Barrett-Baxendale, CEO], I have conversations with them and they are supporting me.
“They know… I will say something I’ve said before: They have experience changing managers, they have experience trying to adapt things and it was not working.
“I don’t know if you’re an Everton fan, but which is the feeling of the last years for Everton fans? Success, or frustration?
“You know the answer, I have a lot of friends who are telling me the same.
Everton going in the right direction – Benitez
“The problems are not just something you can fix in five months, they know you need time and they know we are going in the right direction.
“One thing is what you can see on the pitch every weekend. The fans at the beginning could see what we were looking for – the intensity, the commitment, the way we were playing.
“Everybody was delighted, then after the frustration of some years they could see we were going in the right direction.”
Benitez will be hoping for a statement win in Everton’s next game. They travel to third-placed Chelsea on Thursday evening.
Everton man on Roma wish list
Meanwhile, Sport Witness, citing reports in Italy, state Everton midfielder Allan is a target for Roma.
Jose Mourinho is looking for players with ‘substance’ and ‘personality’, and it appears Allan fits the bill.
The 30-year-old hasn’t been at his best since the departure of Carlo Ancelotti in June. However, he could still became a top performer for the Serie A club.
Roma’s relatively poor finances mean they would only be able to afford an initial loan with the option to buy this summer. They would also need Allan to take a pay cut. He earns a reported £70,000 a week at Everton.