At the end of the summer, Everton fans could have been forgiven for feeling a level of positivity. With a relatively new manager who many were touting to be a future Barcelona manager, having spent approaching £150 million and with a new stadium on the way, it looked like the only way was up for the Merseyside team.
Two months into the season, any positivity that was there nine games earlier has gone. With Everton creeping into the relegation zone after a 5-2 drubbing at the hands of Arsenal, they have decided to part company with their Dutch manager who never managed to get anything like an adequate return from his summer transfers.
Whoever comes in to replace him will find themselves with a real task on their hands as they try to turn the team’s performances around and get them climbing back up to the seventh spot that they had recently made their own.
Jon Mackenzie looks at four of the strongest candidates for the job.
1 David Unsworth
The former Premier League journeyman who played for Everton in two stints across the 90s and 2000s, David Unsworth has been impressing more recently in his role as Everton's under-23s coach. So admirable has he been that the Everton board have seen fit to promote him as caretaker manager whilst the club go through a period of recruitment to replace Ronald Koeman.
As we have seen in the case of Craig Shakespeare (and Terry Phelan before him), however, the caretaker manager to permanent manager shift does not always end well. One of the things that might dissuade Everton from making his current position permanent is the fact that Unsworth remains relatively untested on the managerial stage. So far in his short career in the hot seat, he has tended to take up academy positions, only ever managing Preston North End as a full manager and even then for a couple of short intermediary terms.
Likelihood of Appointment: 3/10
2 David Moyes
Despite his more recent fall from grace, David Moyes remains a legend at Goodison Park and rightly so. Taking the job as Everton manager in 2002, he went on to make Everton a solid top-half-of-the-table team over the course of his eleven season stint. In the 2004/05, Moyes even managed something that very few other managers have done - getting Everton into the top four in the Premier League.
Of course, questions could be raised about his subsequent employment: his infamous failure as Manchester United in the wake of Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement; the Real Sociedad Experiment that didn't even last a full season; and a period at Sunderland that resulted in the club finally going down into the Championship.
Questions have been raised about his autocratic management style, a style that flies in the face of the current wisdom on directors of football. Few would argue, though, that he is not the man to turn Everton around: no one knows the club as well as Moyes and he already showed himself capable of taking the club into the top half of the Premier League.
Likelihood of Appointment: 7/10
3 Sean Dyche
On Saturday afternoon on BT Sport Score, Dean Saunders queried why Sean Dyche is never spoken about when another managerial position is made available. Saunders is clearly not a betting man. If he were, he would know that Dyche has been amongst the favourites in all three positions that have come up in the Premier League so far this season.
Over the last couple of seasons, Dyche has proven that he has the capacity to build a mid-table team out of scraps. His Burnley side, despite many pundits' predictions before the season, have performed admirably - taking points off Chelsea, Spurs and Liverpool, as well as Everton themselves when they vis ited Goodison earlier this month.
However, in spite of his credentials, it is unclear whether or not Sean Dyche would be able to turn around a team full of hastily-cobbled-together players, many of whom came with large price tags on their heads. That said, this could be Dyche's own David Moyes moment in which he came to the club, put his stamp on them and reasserted them as a top-half team.
Likelihood of Appointment: 8/10
4 Carlo Ancelotti
Since his sacking at Bayern Munich, Carlo Ancelotti has been on the tip of every Premier League fan's tongue whenever another managerial job comes up. It's not hard to see why: Champions Leagues with Milan and Real Madrid, league titles at almost every club he's managed - Ancelotti is undoubtedly up there with the elite managers.
Of course, after his time at Bayern there are worries about his commitment to management. However, this is unlikely to concern the Everton board overly. More worrying for them will be the fact that, given his CV, there will be many other clubs looking to get his signature. Everton, though, will be hopeful that the power of the investment behind them, the plans for a new stadium and the challenge of turning the club around might be enough to tempt Ancelotti to take up the position.
Likelihood of Appointment: 5/10
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