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Jose Mourinho as Tottenham manager - PA

Jose Mourinho as Tottenham manager – PA

The swift departure of Carlo Ancelotti from Everton has left another big Premier League club in the hunt for a new manager this summer, although it has emerged that the Italian’s old rival, Jose Mourinho, was sounded out for the Real job originally.

The former Tottenham Hotspur manager agreed to take up the position of Roma head coach from next season on May 4, a quick return to the game after his sacking at Spurs and agreed a three-year deal. Since then the game has seen a series of managerial changes with Zinedine Zidane leaving Real, Antonio Conte parting ways with Inter Milan, Andrea Pirlo sacked by Juventus and some doubt expressed over the future of Mauricio Pochettino at Paris Saint-Germain and Ronald Koeman at Barcelona.

Mourinho was approached informally to get his view on the Madrid job at the end of last week and then again over the weekend, before eventually the club turned its focus to appointing Ancelotti. The two managers have both previously managed Real – Ancelotti succeeded Mourinho at the club in 2013 – and both have maintained a strong relationship with the club’s all-powerful president Florentino Perez in the years since their respective departures.

Mourinho conveyed to Madrid there was no interest from his side in a return to the club. He is enthusiastic about the challenge at Roma and signed a three-year deal at the club, where the club’s new American owner, billionaire Dan Friedkin pursued his appointment personally. At Real, all appointments are overseen by Perez, currently in the 12th year of his second term at the club, and grappling with the club’s €1 billion of debt and committed spending. The club are still not certain of playing in next season’s Champions League, pending Uefa’s disciplinary process over the Super League breakaway.

The Ancelotti deal with Real was concluded with remarkable swiftness given the considerable wealth and power of the Everton majority owner Farhad Moshiri. There was, in the end, no settlement for Real to pay in order to appoint the Italian and there were no major obstacles placed in Real’s way by the Premier League club. Indeed the discussions were settled very quickly from Real making their first formal approach on Tuesday morning to appointing the Italian by the end of the day. The two clubs reached an agreement on the curtailment of Ancelotti’s contract which still had three years to run.

It leaves Everton seeking their sixth manager in five years. Ancelotti had been a major investment for the club although there is no question that in spite of February’s derby win at Anfield, the club’s first since Sept 1999, the second half of the season showed a dramatic decline in form. They went from second on Boxing Day to tenth by the end of the season, finishing with a 5-0 defeat to champions Manchester City. Despite that the relationship between Ancelotti and the Moshiri and his advisors appeared to survive with the offer from Real a chance for both parties to split amicably.

The challenge now for Everton is to appoint a successor quickly enough in the summer in order that plans can be made for next season, with the former Wolverhampton Wanderers coach Nuno Espirito Santo currently the most obvious solution. The club has dragged out appointments in the past, especially with Marco Silva whom they appointed in May 2018 and later had to agree a compensation deal with his former club Watford in the February of the following year.