David Moyes returning to Everton after Marco Silva’s sacking might be the “step back that is required” for the club, says ex-captain Leon Osman.
Moyes, who spent 11 years at Everton before joining Manchester United, is among the favourites to replace Silva.
Silva, 42, was sacked with Everton sitting 18th in the Premier League after three successive losses.
“People say David Moyes is a step back – I’d argue a step back is good for Everton at the moment,” Osman said.
“The steps forward Everton have made in the last three or four years haven’t got them anywhere.”
Everton sacked Portuguese manager Silva on Thursday, less than 24 hours after their Merseyside derby humiliation in a 5-2 defeat by Liverpool at Anfield.
Silva, who took charge in May 2018, won 24 and lost 24 of his 60 games.
Former Toffees striker Duncan Ferguson has been put in temporary charge and will manage the side against Chelsea on Saturday.
Everton said they aim to appoint a new manager “as swiftly as possible”.
- Silva’s sacking a blow to Moshiri’s credibility – Phil McNulty analysis
- No ‘Silva-lining’ for Everton – 5 Live special podcast
Who next for Everton?
Moyes is a name under serious consideration by Everton’s board, with some bookmakers offering evens odds of the 56-year-old Scot being installed as the next permanent manager.
More ambitious suggestions of contenders include former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino and Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone, while former Everton skipper Mikel Arteta – now working under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City – and Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe are also thought to be on the radar.
Another name already linked is Shanghai SIPG manager Vitor Pereira, who led Porto to back-to-back Portuguese titles in 2012 and 2013.
“The only obvious candidate at the moment is David Moyes,” Osman said on BBC Radio 5 Live. “Maybe a step back is what is required.
“Are you going to get a manager in a job? That can take time and be very expensive.
“They tried the panic mode – as Evertonians called it – by bringing in Sam Allardyce to keep Everton up. It wasn’t a success on all counts, it kept Everton in the Premier League but a lot of fans weren’t happy.
“Some fans are suggesting to go and get Mauricio Pochettino because he is out of a job but Everton have fallen so far down the league that even with all the money available it is no longer a glitzy opportunity.
“You’ve got a serious job on your hands over the next two years before Everton can be re-established as a top club again. We’ve now become a project again where we were three or four years ago when the money first came in.”
Do the fans want Moyes back?
Moyes spent a fruitful 11 years as Everton manager, leading the Toffees to top-eight finishes in nine of his 11 full seasons in charge.
But his return has been seen by some fans as a retrograde step given his lack of success since leaving to replace Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United in 2013.
The Scot was sacked at Old Trafford after less than a season and suffered the same fate at Spanish side Real Sociedad before leaving Sunderland after they were relegated from the Premier League.
Moyes has not managed since a short spell at West Ham ended in May 2018.
Everton fan Sarah Halpin, founder of ‘The Bird is Blue’ YouTube channel, says there may be a reluctant acceptance among supporters that Moyes might represent a decent option to stop the slide.
“A few months ago, or even a couple of weeks ago, your first reaction as a fan is ‘do we really want to do that? Do we really want to go backwards to someone who was there?'” she told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“My glory days – if you like – as an Everton fan were under David Moyes and what we achieved with spending so minimal money was an overachievement really. We played some nice football and brought in some of our greatest players.
“We’ve got a lot of respect for him but it often doesn’t work out when a manager returns to a previous club.
“But actually with the way the team is performing at the moment, lacking in belief and togetherness, you know at the very least that David Moyes is somebody who understands this football club, understands what it means and what a privilege it is to be part of it.
“If he can instil that into the team, galvanise the players and the fans together then we could do worse. But he wouldn’t be my first choice.”
Not being first choice was a sentiment also shared by other Everton fans reacting to Silva’s departure on Twitter – although some showed much stronger opposition to the prospect of a Moyes return…
‘Pochettino wouldn’t be interested’ – analysis
BBC chief football writer Phil McNulty:
Everton fans will ask why the club can’t go for Mauricio Pochettino, but the honest answer is he just wouldn’t be interested.
I know Eddie Howe is of interest to the Everton board but getting him mid-season might be difficult.
I don’t know how David Moyes going back would work, because he was in control of everything when he was there last time.
That wouldn’t be the case now with director of football Marcel Brands.
Can Ferguson stake a claim for the full-time job?
Toffees legend Ferguson, who played 272 games and scored 72 goals between 1994 and 2006 in two separate spells, takes charge for Saturday’s lunchtime home game against fourth-placed Chelsea at Goodison Park.
In 2011, the Scot returned to the club in a coaching role with the academy before working his way up to the first team where he has been part of the backroom staff under several managers.
Osman, an old team-mate of Ferguson, says even though he does not expect the 47-year-old former striker to be given the job permanently, a good performance against Chelsea could give the Toffees hierarchy some breathing space as they consider their next move.
“If he goes into this game and see a turnaround in Everton’s play and their ability to get on the ball and deliver a good quality performance and victory then who knows where that could take him,” Osman said.
“While he was playing, he didn’t seem the type of character who would go into coaching or management.
“But after talking a break from football he came back with a lot of fire in his belly. He joined the coaching staff in the youth team to get involved and give a bit back, and made his way through the club up to the first-team squad.
“He’ll be delighted to be given the opportunity to lead the team even if it is just one game and if he can lead the club to victory it could be the start of something.”