Everton manager Sam Allardyce’s future is set to be decided within the next 48 hours – with former Watford boss Marco Silva the main candidate to replace him after just six months in charge.
Allardyce said he was not “confident” about his long-term prospects after the Toffees ended their season with a 3-1 defeat at West Ham on Sunday.
The 63-year-old is set to hold talks with Everton owner Farhad Moshiri.
Allardyce replaced the sacked Ronald Koeman on an 18-month deal in November.
The former England manager has overseen an improvement in their Premier League position, but his approach has proved deeply unpopular with Everton fans, who have made their displeasure at his style public and vociferous in many games since March.
Moshiri is now expected to reach a settlement on the final year of Allardyce’s deal before moving quickly to appoint his successor.
And at the head of his list of candidates is 40-year-old Portuguese Silva, who was Moshiri’s first choice when he dismissed Dutchman Koeman.
Everton, however, were unable to prise Silva away from Vicarage Road – despite being willing to pay around £15m in compensation – and were eventually threatened with legal action by Watford unless they ended their pursuit.
The Hornets then sacked Silva in January after a poor run of results, effectively blaming the Toffees’ move for their manager in November as “the catalyst for this decision” and insisting they would have continued to prosper but for “an unwarranted approach”.
Everton have also been interested in Shakhtar Donetsk coach Paulo Fonseca – although he is also a contender to replace David Moyes at West Ham.
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe also has his supporters at Goodison Park but, for now at least, Silva is favourite to finally take a job that could have been his before the turn of the year.
Silva’s possible arrival at Everton is complicated by the fact he is still involved in a wrangle with Watford over compensation for his dismissal.
Everton will then hope to conclude the arrival of PSV Eindhoven sporting director Marcel Brands as their new director of football, putting incumbent Steve Walsh’s future role at the club into question.
In what promises to be a busy week for Moshiri, Everton are also expected to hold talks with forward Wayne Rooney’s representatives over his projected move to DC United in Major League Soccer, while the departure of chief executive Robert Elstone is expected to be announced imminently, paving his way for a return to rugby league.
The BBC understands Elstone’s replacement will be deputy chief executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale, who in 2014 received an MBE for her role in spearheading the club’s successful charity arm.