Everton are closing in on the appointment of Carlo Ancelotti as their new manager – but caretaker boss Duncan Ferguson will remain in charge for Saturday’s lunchtime game with Arsenal.
Ancelotti, 60, is still to sign what would be a lucrative long-term contract following talks with Everton owner Farhad Moshiri in London this week.
But it appears the major details are settled after the Italian cut his ties with Napoli following his sacking, and he could be at Goodison Park on Saturday.
However, Everton are remaining guarded until they are in a position to make a formal announcement.
Ferguson, 47, will be at the helm against an Arsenal side expected to have a new manager of their own by then, with Mikel Arteta expected to be confirmed on Friday.
Former Everton manager David Moyes was under consideration for a return in some form, possibly in interim charge, while Portuguese coach Vitor Pereira announced he was staying in Shanghai after he was heavily touted.
Everton moved swiftly after Ancelotti, who is one of the most successful coaches in the modern game and has won the Champions League three times with AC Milan and Real Madrid, was dismissed by Napoli despite guiding them into the tournament’s knockout phase.
And now, barring any late hitches, it looks like Ancelotti will become the world-class manager Moshiri has desired since his arrival at Everton in February 2016.
Ferguson has picked up four points from his two Premier League games – a 3-1 home win against Chelsea and a 1-1 draw at Manchester United – and also guided Everton to a 2-2 draw against Leicester in the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, although the Foxes won on a penalty shootout to reach the semi-finals.
An Everton club statement, which confirmed Ferguson would be in charge against Arsenal, said the Scot would again be assisted by coaches John Ebbrell and Francis Jeffers, and goalkeeping coach Alan Kelly.