Everton have sacked manager Ronald Koeman after the club’s terrible start to the season.
The Toffees spent more than £145m in the summer on players but slipped into the bottom three following Sunday’s 5-2 home defeat to Arsenal.
They have won just two of their opening nine league games and the Dutchman has paid the price.
READ MORE: Why Everton sacked Ronald Koeman
Early favourite to replace Koeman – who was manager for just 16 months – is ex-Everton boss David Moyes who was in charge at Goodison Park from 2002-13 before leaving for Manchester United.
Koeman led the club to a seventh-placed finish last season, his only full campaign at the helm after arriving from Southampton, but has had a torrid time of late.
Two home defeats in four days, 2-1 to Lyon in the Europa League and 5-2 against Arsenal on Sunday, and the chorus of boos that followed each time proved the end of the line for 54-year-old.
The departure of Romelu Lukaku, who joined Manchester United for £75million in the summer, left the Toffees light up front but Everton’s use of those funds has been questioned.
Gylfi Sigurdsson and Davy Klaassen cost almost £70m between them and Wayne Rooney was brought back from Old Trafford on a high-profile free transfer but Lukaku was never adequately replaced.
A further £55m was spent on goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and defender Michael Keane, yet the Toffees have conceded 18 goals in nine league games and only rock-bottom Crystal Palace have a worse goal difference.
Koeman reported for training at the club’s Finch Farm facility on Monday morning, with preparations for Wednesday’s Carabao Cup game at Chelsea seemingly under way.
But Kenwright and chief executive Robert Elstone were later reported arriving on site unexpectedly and Koeman’s dismissal was confirmed soon after.
He becomes the third top-flight boss this season to lose their job, following Frank de Boer at Palace and Craig Shakespeare at Leicester.
Expect Sean Dyche to be the next Everton manager. David Unsworth to be caretaker. More on @MailSport
— Lee Clayton (@LeeClayton_) October 23, 2017
Speaking after his final outing in the dugout, Koeman confronted speculation over his position head-on.
”I still believe I can change the whole situation but everybody knows how it works in football. That is all I answer about this situation,” he said.
”If you start to think negatively then maybe there is no solution. I am not like that. All the rumours in the newspapers are normal.
“All these kinds of decisions are not in my hands.”
Leon Osman, who played for Everton from 2000 to 2016, believes Koeman’s fate had become inescapable given the unsuccessful restructure of the playing squad.
“It’s not just results, performances of late have been really below par, really worrying and I think it was pretty inevitable this was going to happen,” he told Sky Sports News.
“Everton aren’t a club to react too quickly. I’m pretty sure the chairman and Mr Moshiri will have been thinking on this for a while and made the inevitable decision.
“Having someone like Lukaku up front last season and losing him…it sort of changed Ronald Koeman’s style of play. Players need to be brought in slowly, this season he’s had 10 new players and it’s showed on the pitch.”
Ronald Koeman has left Everton after 16 months in charge:
All comps record
P58 W24 D14 L20
P47 W19 D12 L16 pic.twitter.com/oVHmRJYskK
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) October 23, 2017
Osman played the majority of his career under David Moyes’ guidance and believes a return for the Scot is possible, with under-23 boss David Unsworth his long-range tip.
On Moyes, who has struggled at Manchester United, Real Sociedad and Sunderland since his 11 years on Merseyside, Osman said: “I think he would be able to do a good job, he knows the club inside and out.
“(But) are they looking for someone to get immediate results, someone who has got a real pedigree of winning trophies or are they looking to bring someone like David Unsworth from the academy, who really knows the club, can bring through the young lads and really inspire an Everton core.”
Koeman’s Everton career in numbers
18 – the Toffees occupy the Premier League’s final relegation place.
£149million – the total reportedly spent on summer signings including Gylfi Sigurdsson, Jordan Pickford, Michael Keane and Davy Klaassen. Around half of that total was funded by the sale of Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United.
8 – their points total after nine games.
5 – Everton are winless in their last five games – defeats to Burnley and Arsenal in the Premier League and Lyon in the Europa League, and draws with Brighton domestically and Apollon Limassol on the continent.
2-5 – the scoreline in his last game in charge, at home to Arsenal on Sunday.
41 – Koeman’s winning percentage as Everton boss, with 24 victories from 58 games in charge. His side lost 20 and drew 14.
3 – Koeman is the third managerial departure in the Premier League this season, following Frank de Boer (Crystal Palace) and Craig Shakespeare (Leicester).
9 – clubs managed by Koeman in his career, with Everton his second Premier League job after Southampton.