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    Silva linings in Everton's last chance saloon?



    The appointment of Unai Emery at Arsenal and the arrival of Manuel Pellegrini at West Ham have dominated the Premier League’s managerial merry-go-round. However, the potential acquisition of Marco Silva to take the reins at Everton has gone under the radar.

    The Portuguese has plied his trade in England before with short spells at Hull City and Watford. But this job, if he gets it, could be a defining moment in the futures of both coach and club. Silva, a manager of huge potential but with a point to prove coupled with Everton, a massive club starved of success for so long; this could be a match made in heaven.

    Silva's previous record in England:

    Hull were rock bottom of the Premier League when Silva took over on 5th January 2017 and had registered only two home wins all season. The Portuguese immediately sought to make the KCOM a fortress, overseeing a turnaround of six home league victories out of a possible nine. Disappointing defeats to already relegated Sunderland and a 7-1 thumping by Tottenham Hotspur belied the progress that Silva had made during his short spell on Humberside. His appointment had the desired effect, but he could not quite do enough to save the Tigers from relegation.


    The Portuguese had Watford looking like they could mount a sustained push for Europe before a well-documented mid-season slump. Watford were in eighth position by late November, five points off the top four and their high pressing, quick counter-attacking style had won over fans and neutrals alike. Crucially, wins at Bournemouth, Southampton (above), Swansea and Newcastle showed that Silva could also get his teams to perform away from home- something he had failed to do at Hull.

    Nonetheless, the capitulation after Everton’s approach for Silva in November must be mentioned. Watford won only two matches in the following two months, dropping to within five points of the relegation zone before the Portuguese was given his marching orders. In short, Silva’s sides can beat anyone on their day, but their inconsistencies prevent them from being considered real heavyweights. A description of Everton in recent years would bring an almost identical result.

    How Silva could bring the best out of Everton:

    Some of the Toffees’ best football in recent years has come when they have pressed high up the pitch before launching into explosive counter attacks. They might not have reached their peak of late, but the Everton squad potentially at Silva’s disposal still possesses much of the ingredients necessary to implement that style.


    Oumar Niasse may have been a bit-part player at Goodison Park, but his constant effort and desire have made him a fan favourite. Silva has worked with him before when the Senegalese was loaned to Hull (above), scoring four times in twelve starts. Niasse may not be prolific, but his game is more reliant on linkup play and creating opportunities for others; a role that is essential to any team playing fast-paced, counter-attacking football. January signing Cenk Tosun is a slightly different beast, often finding himself on the scoresheet, but he is also willing to work for the team. These two forwards, along with Dominic Calvert-Lewin, are already suited well to Silva’s favoured pressing style.


    Instead of the forwards, it is often the box-to-box midfielders that find themselves being the focal point in a Marco Silva side. The tenacious yet creative James McCarthy is the perfect example of the kind of player perfectly suited to the role. But with the Irishman stuck on the side-lines for the foreseeable future, perhaps the only other box-to-box midfielder at Everton is Tom Davies (above). After exploding onto the scene in 2017, the 19-year-old has experienced a season of transition as he comes to terms with the rigours of a full campaign. Abdoulaye Doucouré was one of Watford’s best players last season and thrived under Silva. If he could be convinced to move to Merseyside and produce the performances he did on occasion last season, the midfielder's energy, aggression and power would be a welcome addition.


    Everton are clearly also in need of another centre-back given the poor form of Ashley Williams and the ageing legs of Phil Jagielka. Leicester’s Harry Maguire (above) may have his sights set on a move to a bigger club than Everton, but Silva may be able to coax the Englishman to Goodison Park. Maguire played some of his best football during the Portuguese’s tenure at Hull and, as a result, earned himself the move to Leicester. His strength in the air, positional awareness and comfort on the ball should make him a top target for the Toffees.

    It is make or break for both parties if this appointment goes ahead; potentially making the next chapter in this prestigious club’s rich history the most interesting yet. Admittedly it would be a risk, but Everton must think outside the box if they want their ambition to return to Europe’s elite to become a reality.
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