Like most things with Everton this season, their search hire a new manager to replace Rafa Benitez was weird and chaotic. At one point, it seemed like they were set to appoint Portuguese tactician Vitor Pereira before fan backlash, graffiti and a bizarre Sky Sports interview during which he said in response, "I will move forward with my life and if they want me they must call me."
Well, it seems as if Pereira and the Toffees will move on with their lives. After a failed attempt to pry club legend Wayne Rooney out of a relegation-threatened Derby County side to fill Benitez's vacancy, Everton finally zeroed in on a candidate -- a former Three Lions teammate of Rooney's -- to take the job. On Monday, Everton agreed to appoint ex-Chelsea manager Frank Lampard the head coaching job, beating out Pereira and Duncan Ferguson.
In his first interview with the club Lampard said, "I think Everton is a unique club in that you can really understand what the fans want to see. The first thing they want is fight and desire and that must always be our baseline."
He'll be supported by Joe Edwards, Paul Clement, and Chris Jones. While Duncan Ferguson and Alan Kelly remain in place from Rafa Benitez's staff. There is also consideration of adding Ashley Cole to the team from Chelsea's youth setup but that is not confirmed at this stage.
The former Chelsea and Derby County manager has been out of work for a year after being dismissed by the Blues and ultimately replaced by Thomas Tuchel, who took the side to a Champions League title last season.
The Chelsea dismissal felt inevitable as Lampard was a manager to bridge the gap between the team having a transfer ban and being able to figure out the next manager coming in. But nonetheless, he was a club legend and during his time as coach, his faith in the youngsters paid dividends. He was able to take Mason Mount's game to the next level and gave Callum Hudson-Odoi the confidence to succeed and pushing Reece James. Lampard helped show Chelsea that there is a path for the youth products from Cobham if they work hard enough and that's something that Tuchel has kept.
Lampard's base 4-3-3 formation was great for scoring goals but defensively shaky which will suit the Everton style. During Lampard's reign, Chelsea scored an impressive 107 goals in 57 matches while conceding 77. So at a minimum, Everton fans will get a fun brand of soccer, in comparison to what Benitez brought, but without the baggage of having managed Liverpool in the past.
It should be easy for Lampard to bring a new manager bounce as Richarlison, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Andros Townsend and Demarai Gray are back and healthy. Losing Abdoulaye Doucoure for his first three weeks in charge will be tough to work around. Coming in at the end of the transfer window, Lampard will have to manage a race to avoid relegation with those already on the team. Everton has a good cast of youth players with Lewis Dobbin, Anthony Gordon, and Jarrad Branthwaite who will likely get their chances under new management.
Lampard will likely get some midfield help in the form of Donny van de Beek which is curious get for the Toffees. As they lack the ability to drive through the center of the pitch, van de Beek is a player who operates in the half-spaces to transition play. Not quite a defensive midfielder but also not a pure ten, van de Beek wasn't able to hit his stride with Manchester United but if Lampard can dial things back to his Ajax form, Everton will have no issues putting space between themselves and the relegation zone.
While at Chelsea, Lampard struggled to make in-game adjustments, but that's something that will improve as he gets more games managed under his belt. He'll have quite the challenge with an Everton board that hasn't been able to decide what kind of team they want to be but there are worse options than going all in on their academy and Lampard if this is a long term appointment.