Martin O’Neill is the new bookies’ favourite to be the next Everton manager, writes Stephen Barry.
The Toffees’ majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri said yesterday the club were “close” to finalising an appointment, with O’Neill seemingly the current frontrunner.
The Republic of Ireland manager has verbally agreed a two-year contract with the FAI, but has yet to sign the deal. The criticism he has received in some quarters since the 5-1 play-off hammering by Denmark may have given him pause for thought.
“I thought that John [Delaney, FAI CEO] and myself had agreed to stay on… but we’ll see,” he said in the aftermath of that loss.
Many bookmakers have O’Neill at odds-on to leave for the Premier League club, with SkyBet putting him as low as 1/2 to get the job.
Everton’s initial target, Marco Silva (9/2), is second favourite as they struggle to persuade Watford to release their manager.
There would be similar issues with third favourite Sean Dyche (6/1) of Burnley.
Other contenders according to the market are Shanghai SIPG boss Andre Villas-Boas (6/1), Leipzig sporting director Ralf Rangnick (10/1), Sam Allardyce (11/1) and current caretaker manager David Unsworth (12/1).
O’Neill and Ireland assistant Roy Keane have had numerous public run-ins with past Everton managers during their time with the national team.
Roberto Martinez and the recently sacked Ronald Koeman both took issue with Seamus Coleman and James McCarthy playing with knocks, while the Irish duo questioned Everton’s training regime.
Meanwhile, Alan Pardew (1/8) is the favourite to replace Tony Pulis as the new West Brom manager.
Craig Shakespeare (8/1), Allardyce (14/1) and Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill (18/1) are next in the betting.