Marcelo Bielsa has major doubts over replacing Frank Lampard at Everton amid concerns that the squad will struggle to adapt to his high-octane style.
On a farcical day at Everton, Villarreal forward Arnaut Danjuma agreed to join them, had a medical, posed for photos and was interviewed by club media — then opted to join Tottenham.
Former Leeds boss Bielsa, 67, is Everton’s No 1 choice to replace Lampard, who lost his job following a run of six defeats in seven Premier League matches that has left the club 19th in the table, after their worst start to a league season.
No 1 target Marcelo Bielsa has told Everton that the team is too slow to play the way he wants
Villarreal’s Arnaut Danjuma looked all set to join Everton before Tottenham entered the fray
Homegrown talent Anthony Gordon meanwhile could be on his way to join Newcastle United
However, in talks with club officials, the Argentine told Everton that the team is too slow to play the way he wants and they must prioritise pace in this month’s transfer window if he is to replace Lampard.
Bielsa provided a breakdown of the squad and his chief concern is said to be a lack of speed in defensive areas.
If guarantees are not given to address his concerns, he is likely to walk away. As he proved at Leeds, Bielsa does not waver from his footballing philosophy.
Sportsmail has learned that Everton chiefs have canvassed senior players about their search for Lampard’s successor.
The Argentine has concerns that Everton are too slow and would struggle to adapt to his style
Key figures within the hierarchy remain admirers of their previous manager Sam Allardyce — boss at Goodison in 2017-18 — and he has also held initial talks over replacing Lampard.
Odds to be named the next Everton manager
Sean Dyche – 3/2
Marcelo Bielsa – 3/1
David Moyes – 4/1
Wayne Rooney – 6/1
Nuno Espirito Santo – 8/1
Duncan Ferguson – 12/1
Sam Allardyce – 14/1
There is a feeling at Everton that Allardyce’s experience in guiding relegation-threatened teams to safety would give the club a strong chance of avoiding the drop.
Sean Dyche is also out of work, but there is a reluctance from the Everton board to move for the former Burnley boss.
West Bromwich manager Carlos Corberan and former Southampton boss Ralph Hassenhutl are both on the short-list.
Tottenham are set to complete a last-gasp swoop for Danjuma, hijacking Everton’s move for the Netherlands forward.
The Villarreal star is expected to sign on an initial loan deal with an option to buy for £27million.
Danjuma’s ambitious demands during the window have irked a number of English clubs — not only Everton — as the former Bournemouth man bids to move back to the Premier League.
The 21-year-old was not at training on Tuesday and suitors have been given encouragement that there is a deal to be done this month.
Toffees majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri (left) has held talks with 67-year-old boss Bielsa
The former Leeds United boss has significant doubts about taking the Goodison Park hot seat
Everton have held talks with former boss Sam Allardyce, who is a back-up option to take over
Chelsea also retain a long-standing interest in Gordon. Newcastle made an offer of £35m for Gordon last week and sources believe an improved package in the region of £25m plus £15m in add-ons could see an agreement reached — despite Everton’s asking price of around £55m.
A report on Tuesday night suggested owner Farhad Moshiri had put the club up for sale, but that was apparently dismissed by a video published on the club’s official website.
LAMPARD AT EVERTON
Win percentage: 27.3
The Iranian did an interview with a fan advisory board last Thursday and addressed a number of issues.
Moshiri insisted that Everton would sign a striker before the transfer deadline and accepted that their talent spotting ‘needed to improve’.
There was also a recognition that he has sacked some managers ‘too soon’ over the last seven years.
In terms of offloading the club, Moshiri said: ‘The club is not for sale, but I’ve been talking to top investors, real quality, to bridge the gap on the stadium.
‘I can do it myself and the reason I want to do it is to bring top sport investors into Everton for some of the reasons that the fans want improvement, more talent, and we are close to having a deal done.
‘It’s not selling the club at all. It’s just bringing more expertise in terms of global sponsorship, in terms of commercial development and a lot of specialist sport investors have this pool of knowledge. It’s to secure that for Everton.’
Lampard was dismissed on Monday after a dreadful run of form plunged Everton into danger