LONDON • Everton want Ronald Koeman to succeed Roberto Martinez as manager and are ready to offer him the biggest transfer kitty in the English football club's history in an attempt to convince him to leave Southampton.
Martinez's three-year tenure came to an abrupt end on Thursday after a 3-0 defeat away to Sunderland the previous night.
It prompted the Everton board to abandon plans to allow the Spaniard to continue at least until a review took place at the end of the season.
Frank de Boer immediately threw his hat into the ring, reiterating that he would be interested in the Everton job, but the outgoing Ajax coach has not had any contact with the Merseyside club, who are understood to favour Koeman.
Koeman is entering the final year of his Southampton contract and recently opened talks over a new deal, but Everton are hoping that he will be tempted by the opportunity to reshape their squad, armed with the substantial proceeds from the expected sales of Romelu Lukaku and John Stones, and supplemented by investment from Farhad Moshiri, the club's majority shareholder.
Koeman is understood to covet the Arsenal manager's job but, with Arsene Wenger set to remain in charge beyond this summer, it seems unlikely that position will become available soon, giving Everton the chance to try to convince the former Barcelona player to revive their fortunes.
Yesterday, Watford announced that they would part company with their manager Quique Sanchez Flores at the end of the season, after the Spaniard said "the club and me don't have the same point of view about the season".
West Ham manager Slaven Bilic condemned the decision, calling it "sick".
"I'm sorry for Quique," he said. "They had a great season. It says it's more important how you finish than how you start but it is nonsense for me."
Flores had kept the club in the Premier League with a respectable 13th-place finish, although their form dropped off alarmingly in the latter half of the season.
The Madrid-born coach, who was appointed in June 2014, also led the club to the FA Cup semi-finals.
They play Sunderland at home in their last match tomorrow where the 51-year-old is likely to get a stirring send-off.
THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN