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Real Madrid eye Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti for Bernabeu return - SHUTTERSTOCK

Real Madrid eye Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti for Bernabeu return – SHUTTERSTOCK

Everton look like they will be searching for their fifth manager in five years as Real Madrid are convinced they will lure Carlo Ancelotti back to the Bernabeu stadium.

The Merseyside club are braced for an official approach from the Spanish giants, who want Ancelotti to replace Zinedine Zidane.

All the indications from Spain suggest Madrid president Florentino Perez has succeeded in securing Ancelotti for a second spell, which will leave Everton owner Farhad Moshiri embarking on an all-too-familiar recruitment process.

Former Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe, who has been interviewed for the Everton job previously, will certainly be a contender should Ancelotti accept Madrid’s offer. Former Everton boss David Moyes and ex-Wolves coach Nuno Espirito Santo would also be under consideration.

Ancelotti’s current Everton deal runs until 2024, so if there is any consolation for Everton should he go it is financial. The Italian was on an eye-popping deal, believed to be worth around £11 million a year.

As well as cutting that considerable investment, Moshiri can anticipate some compensation from Real Madrid, which will be invaluable as the club reassesses its plans ahead of the new campaign.

Ancelotti moved to Goodison in December 2019 and has often spoken of his long-term plans on Merseyside, where he was settled.

Asked about the Madrid job at the end of last season, he downplayed the possibility of a return: “This is good publicity for me, to be linked with Real Madrid, but it’s not true. I’m really happy to stay here. Obviously we have difficulties but I feel good here at Everton and my target is to make Everton better and better every year.”

Circumstances have changed since then, with Zidane quitting and Real making Ancelotti their No 1 target. Should he go, his brief stint at Goodison Park will be considered a curiosity, ultimately promising more than it delivered over the course of 18 months.

Everton looked on course for European qualification thanks to impressive away results, but faltered in the second half of their campaign, paying the price for nine home defeats as they struggled to come to terms with lockdown football on their own patch.

An Ancelotti exit is bound to raise questions about his highest profile recruit – James Rodriguez – who made it clear last summer he chose Everton partially because of his relationship with the manager. He worked with Ancelotti during the Italian’s previous spell at Madrid between 2013 and 2015.

Moshiri will be desperate for a semblance of stability. Since 2016 he has sacked Roberto Martinez, Ronald Koeman, Sam Allardyce and Marco Silva, as Everton have struggled to find the right man.

He hoped Ancelotti was the man to see through the job for many years. If La Liga calls, it is back to the drawing board for the Everton owner as he seeks the candidate who can capture the imagination of supporters and deliver the results to propel the club into Europe.