Everton are interested in bringing Belgian coach Roberto Martinez back to the club and have made initial contact with the Belgian Football Association.
Belgium are reluctant to lose the Spaniard, 48, with the World Cup in Qatar in November and believe they will retain his services.
Martinez is high on the Toffees’ list of suitors to succeed Rafael Benitez, who was sacked on Sunday.
He managed Everton from 2013 until his dismissal in 2016.
He then became Manager Belgium in August 2016achieving a third place at the 2018 World Cup, and he is also the technical director of the national team.
Belgium, the first team in the world ranking, are among the favorites for this year’s World Cup.
The prospect of Martinez occupying both the Everton and Belgium roles has been mooted, but the Belgian FA will reject any suggestion out of hand, while a clean end-of-season break is also not on the cards with the World Cup to be held in November. and December in Qatar rather than summer.
Martinez retains his support within the Everton boardroom despite being the first of five managers to be sacked by current owner Farhad Moshiri, leaving in May 2016 after three seasons in charge.
The Catalan has also retained great affection for Everton, believing he has unfinished business at Goodison Park.
He is one of many candidates in discussion as Everton try to walk away from Benitez’s ill-fated and toxic reign, which ended amid fan anger and protests during and after the 2-1 defeat from Saturday to struggling Norwich City.
Martinez could be another tough sell for Moshiri following his controversial appointment of former Liverpool manager Benitez. He, like Benitez, was also the target of protests and banners demanding his removal after his tenure waned after a fine first season when Everton finished fifth.
Former Everton striker Wayne Rooney is also likely to feature in the talks after doing a good job against the odds at Derby County, while former Chelsea manager Frank Lampard is another name being touted as a potential target.
Everton assistant manager Duncan Ferguson, who has been on staff for a succession of dismissed managers, is another candidate, although it may have been significant that the statement announcing Benitez’s departure made no mention of him. ‘a keeper, suggesting they’ll move out for a permanent quick. appointment.
If Everton are unable to secure their man, it is likely Ferguson will take on the caretaker charge for a second time until Benitez is replaced, starting with Saturday’s home game against Aston Villa.
Everton have confirmed Benitez’s backroom staff, including assistant manager Francisco de Miguel Moreno and first-team coach Antonio Gomez, have all left the club.
Potter on Everton speculation
Brighton manager Graham Potter, who has been linked with the vacancy, said on Monday: “I cannot comment on speculation, things that are published in the newspapers.
“I am focused on my job here, very happy here, in my opinion one of the best run football clubs in the Premier League, with a fantastic owner, chairman, CEO, sporting director.”
When asked if he was flattered by the links, he added, “No, not really. It’s just speculation or people want to write something.
“The reality is that I’m at a very good football club which has helped me. I’m not here because I’m so good, it’s because I’m at a good club and I have good support. .
“I have people who allow me to do my job, who support me, give me confidence and those things are important. There is an organization around the club.
“The reality is that we’re not as good as people think; we’re probably not as bad as people also think when things aren’t going so well.
“You just can’t help what people write or post.”