Everton’s world is turned upside down by Carlo Ancelotti’s sudden departure: Farhad Moshiri’s next appointment is his most important decision
- Everton players were stunned by Carlo Ancelotti’s departure to Real Madrid
- The players loved Ancelotti, although Everton’s results didn’t quite go according to plan
- Farhad Moshiri’s next appointment as manager is the most important decision to date
- Five weeks before the team returns, no one knows who the next manager will be
What now? The question is short, but the answer Everton must give after an unexpectedly dramatic day must be clear and compelling.
As the sun set on Everton’s training ground at Finch Lane on Tuesday, you’d be forgiven for thinking that all was well in the world.
But in the main complex, their world was turned upside down.
Carlo Ancelotti’s departure to Real Madrid sent shockwaves to Everton’s selection
Carlo Ancelotti had arrived at 11:15 am for talks with football director Marcel Brands, which would end with the end of an 18-month term at the head of the Italian. Real Madrid’s call was impossible to refuse.
Everton’s largest shareholder Farhad Moshiri staged a coup when he convinced Ancelotti to come to Goodison Park in December 2019. It was a remarkable appointment, attracting real football royalty and one that gave supporters the opportunity to dream.
The players loved him too. And when the news broke that Ancelotti was leaving, a shock wave swept through the group. They had no idea this was coming. After the last game of the campaign at Manchester City, the Italian told them to enjoy themselves – he said he would be in touch.
As a man, Ancelotti is very easy to like. He has no ego and does not show off his past achievements.
He is present, commands respect and his work ethic is undiminished. “Sometimes I say to him, ‘We’re just a few. Look, Gaffer! Stay inside!’ He won’t have any of it,” Duncan Ferguson, his assistant, told Sportsmail last October. “He’s on the grass with five or six players and puts in as much effort as everyone else was there.”
Ancelotti had managed to build a very good relationship with the Everton squad ploeg
But pedigree doesn’t guarantee anything in football. While the last campaign got off to a record breaking start, as Everton started off with seven straight wins for the first time in their history, the way things spiraled out of control was startling.
They made history at home, but for the wrong reasons, and the results at Goodison Park – where they racked up nine points out of a possible 39 as of January 1 – wrecked their efforts to qualify for Europe. It also meant that a first win at Anfield since September 1999 was for nothing.
There were concerns about performances in the spring. Not known for his patience, Moshiri was angry at the way the results had turned out — so much so that Ancelotti feared the Iranian billionaire would take matters into his own hands.
After the 5-0 defeat at the Etihad Stadium, it is clear that talks were underway to reassure Ancelotti that he would be supported this summer – he wanted to sign a dynamic right winger.
Perhaps Moshiri was naive to think this would be for the long haul. Ancelotti has not had a job for more than two years since he finished eight years at AC Milan in 2009.
Owner Farhad Moshiri now faces his most important decision as he searches for a new manager
So what now? Everton are in a vulnerable position. There are too many players who have not provided the service they have been richly paid for and the first task that awaits the new man is to purge those who have nothing to offer.
Not long ago, Everton was progressive and consistent, working towards a model that suited them well. They bought young, hungry players for a reasonable fee. They rewarded progress and made nice profits when they sold. The plan was clear.
But here they are, five weeks before the squad is due to return, and no one knows who the manager will be or what targets they’ve identified. It is a mess.
Moshiri has gone for big reputations (Ronald Koeman for Ancelotti), he’s tried smart young (Marco Silva) and old warhorses (Sam Allardyce); what comes next cannot be the one he thinks is in vogue. This is his most important decision. Moshiri has to get this one right.