Everton: Sean Dyche expected to be appointed manager after winning race to succeed Frank Lampard
Sean Dyche is expected to be appointed Everton manager imminently; Marcelo Bielsa also held talks with the Toffees board after he was seen in London on Thursday; the Everton hierarchy wanted Frank Lampard's successor to be appointed by Friday
Sean Dyche has arrived at Everton's Finch Farm training base with the ex-Burnley boss set to be appointed as the club's new manager this weekend.
Former Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa and Dyche both held talks with the club on Thursday, with the former spotted in London for negotiations with the Everton board.
But the former Burnley manager looks to have won the race to succeed Frank Lampard at Goodison Park, with final negotiations ongoing at Finch Farm ahead of his appointment.
On Thursday night, Bielsa - who was Farhad Moshiri's first-choice option to replace Lampard - had a long meeting with the Toffees owner.
While the Argentine coach impressed, it is thought he would need a summer to get the Everton team into the shape he would have liked.
On the other hand, it was felt Dyche could hit the ground running. He knows three or four of the Everton players well and the stability those relationships brought was a deciding factor.
One of them is defender Michael Keane, who spent three seasons working under Dyche at Burnley between 2014 and 2017. The 30-year-old is now expected to stay at Goodison Park after concerns about his future, with Dyche a big fan of the central defender.
Sky Sports News also revealed this week that the cost of bringing Bielsa in meant the deal was a difficult one to do.
Bielsa and his backroom staff were likely to cost Everton up to £1m a month - a figure which would cover all the members of the coach's support staff.
Bielsa's particular negotiating style sees him request a large fee which he then distributes throughout his coaching team, who come as a non-negotiable part of the package.
It is understood there were concerns among the Everton bosses about the cost and about making such wholesale changes to their coaching staff structure.
The Toffees board wanted a manager with Premier League experience, which is why they have turned to Dyche.
He also wanted to implement a new transfer policy which would see Everton buying and developing young progressive players.
Majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri talked to Bielsa and Sean Dyche this week.
Bielsa was Moshiri's No 1 choice. Dyche met Everton chairman Bill Kenwright and director of football Kevin Thelwell on Thursday.
Bielsa feels Everton are a great club but the timing was not right and he had reservations about whether the squad could adapt to his methods midway through a season.
A source involved in the negotiations has denied that Bielsa wanted to work at the club with the underage teams before taking over as head coach in the summer.
Dyche will be given money to spend on transfers before the window closes.
"I wish Sean Dyche all the best in the job, but secondly, he's got an enormous job to do. Anyone who knows football or is a fan of any club can see the enormity of the task ahead of him. But knowing the way he is, I'm sure he'll tackle it head on. He's not soft, he's an experienced manager.
"The one thing he's got to get out of these players is he's got to pick them up as they look devoid of confidence and Dyche has to give Everton an identity.
"Over the last few months, I think Everton fans don't know what this team is, whether they're a counter-attacking team, one that will play through the thirds. He's got to get a tune out of the players.
"All eyes will be on the players now as the manager's gone. They were right behind the manager but the performances didn't back it up.
"I hope Sean can really get into these players because some of them need a kick up their behinds. They need to get back to the levels that some of them showed early on.
"We're too easy to play against and are conceding too many goals, which has told us there are problems in the team. The one thing with Dyche's teams is that first and foremost they're hard to beat.
"He did a really good job at Burnley and it was only towards the end that it started to change. He's got to bring an identity and a solidity to the team.
"They need a simplicity to how they play. Don't overload them too many things, get them out there and do the fundamentals. You can look to build on that. When they've been in games at 0-0, they've defeated themselves but with Dyche they'll be in there until the very end.
"This group of players is not good enough to keep Everton up so they will need help."Sky Sports News reporter Vinny O'Connor at Everton's Finch Farm training ground:
"We spoke about the problems of making that Bielsa appointment: the fact he wanted a long period of time to get his philosophy across. We also knew he wanted a bit more pace in the side.
"But we also knew that Sean Dyche had held positive talks with Everton earlier this week and impressed during those talks. Now they've decided that Dyche is the right fit for Everton moving forward.
"Everton wanted that manager with Premier League experience - Bielsa and Dyche both fit the bill in that respect - but Dyche has had a raft of experience that Everton faces to stay in the Premier League this season.
"The key fact will be the ability to work with this group of players and how he can get his message across. Bielsa has a very unique style of the way he wants to go about things, so he would want pace into the side. But Dyche has been able to turn his hands in a different way at Burnley.
"Over a long period of time on a shoestring budget, Dyche was able to keep Burnley in the Premier League and now he's charged with that task to keep Everton in the Premier League.
"It is so tight at the bottom, there is the scope to get out of it. Thirty-five points will be able to secure safety given how the Premier League table is at the minute. He will also have a week or so to build up to his first game against Arsenal on February 4 at Goodison Park."
There is an old saying: a week is a long time in football. For Evertonians, the last week has been an eternity.
Even those that lived through the desperate and barren days of the 1970s cannot recall a week where the club has looked more disjointed, fractured and confused.
It truly has been a terrible time for the Blue half of Merseyside, with the imminent appointment of Sean Dyche just a faint glimmer that some form of stability will return in the dressing room
However, the same cannot be said for the boardroom protests planned before and after the upcoming game against Arsenal against the Everton hierarchy.