Did he know? Lampard asked for patience in last Everton press conference
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Everton managerial target Marcelo Bielsa has reportedly rejected the club’s approach as they scramble to replace axed boss Frank Lampard. Brentford manager Thomas Frank is also said to have turned down interest from the Toffees, with just 18 Premier League games left for them to power clear of relegation trouble.
Lampard was on thin ice heading into Saturday’s relegation six-pointer against West Ham. His fate was eventually sealed by Jarrod Bowen’s first-half double, consigning the Toffees to a 2-0 defeat and dropping them to 19th in the Premier League table.
The former Chelsea and England midfielder received his marching orders on Monday, giving Everton a two-week gap in which to recruit their new boss. Having been a hugely popular figure during his four-year spell at Leeds, Bielsa was thought to be a key option under consideration.
However, according to the Daily Mail, the 67-year-old Argentine has turned down the approach after holding talks with the club’s hierarchy. Brentford’s Frank is also said to snubbed the vacancy, with fans hoping to see a drastic turnaround over the second half of the campaign.
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Bielsa has been out of work for almost a year, although he came close to taking charge of Bournemouth before they appointed Gary O’Neil on a permanent basis. The former Argentina, Chile and Lazio boss is famed for his exciting brand of football, but it often left the Whites exposed defensively during his time at Elland Road.
His and Frank’s alleged snubs leave Everton scrambling to find a suitable option, with top-flight survival naturally high on supporters’ priority list. Sean Dyche, Wayne Rooney, Ralph Hasenhuttl and Sam Allardyce are all among the favourites, with an appointment expected before the end of the month.
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The Toffees have seemingly held fire on signing players in January while Lampard’s future was up in the air. Ellis Simms was recalled from his loan spell at Sunderland but any incoming Everton boss will surely want assurances about transfer funds for a squad that have failed to click this season.
High-profile outgoings could also be an issue with Chelsea rumoured to be interested in two of their most talented players – Anthony Gordon and Amadou Onana. Defeat at the London Stadium on Saturday left Everton two points from safety with just 15 goals scored in 20 Premier League games this term.
“I absolutely don’t fear [the sack], I’m proud to do the job,” Lampard told reporters after Saturday’s defeat. “I never get that far down the line to fear, I just do my job, I get up every day and think how we can get a little bit better, it’s as simple as that.
“It’s a tough moment. And I’m the first – as a player I was and as a manager I am – to try and go over to the fans that travelled down. And if the fans feel as though that’s a badness from the players or from myself, I apologise for that.”
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