Everton, Watford and the pursuit of Marco Silva

Everton, Watford and the pursuit of Marco Silva

Everton face Watford this weekend with Sam Allardyce in the dugout. If the Blues had gotten their way, it'd be a much different face leading them out.

Connor Bennett

When Everton parted ways with Ronald Koeman in October, a number of names were drawn up on a shortlist to replace the Dutch boss who had been plucked from Southampton to oversee the Blues’ rise up the Premier League table.

Sean Dyche, Marco Silva and Thomas Tuchel were the headline acts, so to speak, as Farhad Moshiri begun his second managerial search as majority shareholder.

His first had led him quite easily to Koeman but his second took him down a much more turbulent route.

Dyche had led Burnley to an impressive start to the Premier League season, reaching the heights of fourth in the table and picking up a win away at Chelsea, a draw at Liverpool and a 1-0 win over Everton in the process.

An approach for the 46-year-old 'mayor of Proudsville’ was said to be made but nothing stemmed from the initial reports.

Tuchel, the former Borussia Dortmund and FSV Mainz boss, was without and remains without a club following his departure from Dortmund in May.

He rejected an approach from Everton in November despite wanting to manage in England.

The 44-year-old German was initially reported as the main target to replace Koeman.

However, it was Silva who drew headline billing as the potential new boss at Goodison Park.

The 40-year-old had made an impression on the Premier League despite being met with plenty of initial doubt. He had come ever so close in rescuing Hull City from relegation before joining Watford and made an admirable start to life at Vicarage Road.

He seemingly had all the characteristics of being a manager headed for the top of the game but his Hornets were beginning to reach the edge of a cliff and dive nose first into a free fall when Everton’s interest ramped up.

Money, money, money

Everton wanted to speak to Silva and made everyone wise to that fact with a number of inquiries and offers to the Watford powers that be.

Some reports suggested that the Blues stopped the ‘bidding’ at around £15 million but that figure was closer to £22-24 million.

Silva would not be drawn to talk about his interest in the job, repeating in post-match media conferences that he was there to “talk about the match” and he was focusing on Watford.

Rumours suggested that the Portuguese boss had asked the Watford hierarchy for a chance to speak to the Blues but he had been denied and relationships soured from that point, ultimately leading to his departure in January.

In the time that he was said to be leaving for Merseyside, Watford won three games of a possible 13 in all competitions.

When Silva was ultimately sacked by the Hornets in January, the club’s statement on the matter pointed the finger of blame at Everton.

“Had it not been for the unwarranted approach by a Premier League rival for his services we would have continued to prosper under his leadership,” a club statement read.

“The catalyst for this decision (Silva’s sacking) is that unwarranted approach, something which the board believes has seen a significant deterioration in both focus and results to the point where the long-term future of Watford FC has been jeopardised.”

The Hornets moved quickly and installed Javi Gracia as their new boss, seemingly being set on the idea of replacing Silva for quite some time.

Going forward

It’s a storyline that will no doubt be discussed by the television talking heads in the build-up to Saturday evening’s game at Vicarage Road.

Everton settled for Sam Allardyce when it was made clear to them that Watford would not budge but the 63-year-old, who isn’t the most popular figure at Goodison Park, may not see the summer if Blues fans get their way.

In recent weeks, rumours suggest that the Toffees will move on from Allardyce and make a move for Shakhtar Donetsk boss Paulo Fonseca as his contract expires at the end of this term.

Fonseca was a left-field candidate when Everton wanted to move on from Koeman but stayed with the Ukrainian side and has picked up impressive wins in the Champions League since.

With Silva and Fonseca on the open market, Moshiri may end up getting his man after all and without the initial budgeted outlay.