Negotiations over length of contract appear to be the only hurdle Everton have to clear in order to appoint former Burnley manager Sean Dyche.
The club have quickly moved on to the second name on their shortlist after talks with ex-Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa failed to produce a successful conclusion.
Dyche was always a contender, although seemingly behind the 67-year-old Argentinian, but is now in pole position.
It is understood Everton, next-bottom of the Premier League after nine defeats in 12 matches cost Frank Lampard his job, would ideally prefer a shorter-term contract in order for them to be able to reassess their position at the end of the season.
However, Dyche is unlikely to agree to that and will want a degree of security before accepting terms.
The 51-year-old spent 10 years at Burnley, winning two promotions from the Championship and even securing a seventh-place top-flight to take the club into Europe, but was sacked last April with the Clarets embroiled in a relegation battle which they failed to escape from.
He has been linked with the Everton job previously, most recently after Carlo Ancelotti’s departure in the summer of 2021 before Rafael Benitez’s appointment, and in November spoke about those links.
“Proper club, we all know that, and it’s got a proper feel about it,” he said in an interview with talkSPORT.
“The People’s Club, it always feels to me. I think I have a feel for that because of my history in the Premier League.”
#EFC can confirm that Frank Lampard has left his post as Senior Men’s First Team Manager today.
Paul Tait and Leighton Baines will take training until a new manager is appointed.
— Everton (@Everton) January 23, 2023
Everton’s dilemma in their deliberations was finding a manager which could arrest the terminal decline since 2015 and re-establish the consistency seen in 11 years under David Moyes but actually requiring someone who could have an immediate impact and get them out of their current predicament.
Reports on Friday claimed Bielsa, who flew into London for talks on Thursday, wanted to bring eight members of his backroom team and not take over the team immediately but work with the under-21s and academy before assuming control in the summer.
That scenario, the financial package associated with it and his earlier suggestions he did not believe Everton’s current squad was suited to his methods, has persuaded the club to look in a different direction.
And on the face of it Dyche, who may have been criticised for his style of football at Turf Moor but worked wonders on a limited budget, fits the bill – even if he is a self-confessed Liverpool fan – and talks are taking place at the club’s London offices.
One of the advantages he has is that there are three of his former Burnley players – James Tarkowski, Michael Keane and Dwight McNeil – in the Everton squad.
Asked in November what a good job looked like he added: “You just feel like a club has a solid base to it, a solid core. I call it a heartbeat to the club.
“Some clubs you have to instil it. It becomes part of your job as manager, to give that feel to a team because maybe it has got lost or its got stretched.
“You’d arguably need some kind of finance, no-one has magic dust – I certainly haven’t – to allow you the chance to operate but the biggest thing is look at what you have got first, and mould that into a team that can compete.
“That was what I felt was my strength or my way of doing things. Look at what the reality is, look at what these players are, what can they actually do.”
The other issue Everton are dealing with at the moment concerns wantaway winger Anthony Gordon, who has been absent from training for the last three days as he tries to push through a move to Newcastle.
However, the academy graduate arrived at the club’s Finch Farm training complex on Friday to rejoin training but it appears increasingly likely the 21-year-old will depart before the end of the transfer window.