After a six weeks search, Everton have finally found a permanent replacement of Ronald Koeman in Big Sam. After signing the mega-contract, Sam Allardyce is expected to take over as manager within the next 48 hours. Today’s game against West Ham at Goodison Park will be the last under caretaker manager David Unsworth.
Majority Shareholder Farhad Moshiri has taken a big leap in the club’s ambitions this season; from European qualification to relegation survival. While Big Sam may not be the ideal long-term choice at Finch Farm, the 63-year-old is the best available solution as the club looks to salvage their season. This follows two unfruitful efforts to lure prime target Marco Silva from Watford. A deal by super-agent Jorge Mendes to get Paulo Fonseca from Shakhtar Donetsk failed to materialize leaving Mr. Moshiri with almost no options.
Although Everton sold striker Romelu Lukaku for € 76Million, The Toffees looked like genuine top four contenders after a summer spending totaling € 142 Million. It saw the likes of Michael Keane, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Sandro, Jordan Pickford, Nikola Vlasic and Davy Klassen arrive. Wayne Rooney returned to his boyhood club on a free transfer.
The clubs only managed two wins in 11 games under Koeman before he was sacked after the 5-2 demolition by Arsenal. The club has conceded a total of 9 goals in its last two matches in all competitions. Currently 17th on the table, a decision had to made fast to arrest the situation. A lack of balance in the team has had its toll on the side lowering player confidence. Defender Ashley William is one of the affected players which has led to a drop in his centre-back partner’s performance. These will be among some of the first issues that the new manager will have to address; squad balance and player confidence.
Big Sam’s reputation for direct football and his pragmatic approach will cause concern among the Toffees supporters. Another issue that will be under scrutiny by the fans is his choice of Sammy Lee as part of his coaching staff. Lee is an Anfield legend who won two European Cups and three League titles during his playing career in the 1980’s. He will be one of two assistants alongside former Leicester boss Craig Shakespeare. Lee left Liverpool in 2011 under then boss Kenny Dalglish after 35 years association with The Reds. Others in the new backroom staff include fitness coach Ryland Morgan and goalkeeping coach Martyn Margetson.
Allardyce, who was among the first managers in English football to use cryogenic chambers in to aid the recovery of his players and employ statistical analysis, has never been relegated from the Premier League. He took charge of Sunderland and Crystal Palace when both teams looked set for the drop in midseason and saw them evade relegation. Big Sam also has an excellent transfer record. While he won’t be a fan favorite or the most stylish manager at Goodison Park, you can confidently place a bet on Big Sam steering Everton to safety come to the end of the season.
Contract in Numbers
Length: One and a half years
Yearly Wage: € 6 Million, € 1.5 Million more than Zinedine Zidane’s annual pay package at the Santiago Bernabeu. Zidane earns € 4.5 Million.