Greg O’Keeffe has slammed Farhad Moshiri’s managerial choices at Everton after the club were linked to Marcelo Bielsa.
The Lowdown: Bielsa the number-one target
It was reported pretty soon after Frank Lampard was sacked as Everton manager that the club were keen to appoint Bielsa as the Englishman’s successor, although could now be under threat.
Reports started to emerge about Bielsa having concerns over the squad and if they would be good enough and physically up to the standard his tactics required, something O’Keeffe hinted at last night.
Bielsa famously brought about very intense and gruelling training and pre-season sessions during his time at Leeds United when he was very big on ‘murderball’ – something that some Everton players may struggle if the injury records of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Yerry Mina and Seamus Coleman are anything to go by.
The Latest: Another Moshiri mistake waiting to happen
Perhaps in light of this, having also expressed doubts over Bielsa’s character, O’Keeffe stated his belief on the All Together Now podcast that people at Everton and the Argentine may not be able to thrive together, but felt it was exactly the kind of wrong fit Moshiri would bring to the club.
He said: “I have to say I’m not convinced by the idea. I think it sounds like the sort of thing that Farhad Moshiri playing Football Manager would try – who’s available, who’s got a big reputation and is a name – so he might swing his neck towards Bielsa.
“I have got a lot of respect for what Bielsa achieved in getting Leeds out of the Championship and then making them a competitive unit in the season before last. Obviously, a great manager elsewhere, but I just don’t think he’s a fit for Everton – certainly not at the moment.
“If he comes in, the chances of him being able to come in and bring any of his own players in time with the window ticking down – Everton are struggling to do any business in it, anyway – would be slim.
“If you look at the current squad, it’s not a fit for him. How are any of these players going to pick up the sort of intense fitness, the man-marking and the very, very onerously technical side of the way he wants to play football? They struggled to play a 4-3-3 under Lampard and low-block sometimes as well in different ways. I just don’t think it works.”
The Verdict: Moshiri must make a sensible appointment
Given the high turnover of managers at Goodison Park under Moshiri, we can totally understand O’Keeffe’s scepticism ahead of his latest appointment – particularly as Everton’s top-flight status is on the line and looking even more precarious than it did a year ago before Frank Lampard was brought in.
There has rarely been stability in the dugout since Moshiri became majority shareholder at Everton in February 2016. Then-manager Roberto Martinez was sacked just months later, bringing an end to a three-season reign.
However, no one since has lasted as much as half that length of time, with Marco Silva and Carlo Ancelotti each scraping to around 17 months in charge.
And with managers ranging from those with European-winning pedigree in Ancelotti and the relative inexperience of ex-Chelsea and Derby County boss Lampard, there appears to be a lack of identity at the club, leading to a mismatch of players being brought in at the expense of some €700m (£618m) and subsequent Financial Fair Play constraints.
The one constant in that time has been Moshiri, and you can see how replacing Lampard with Bielsa would have those connected to the club, such as O’Keeffe, worried about what the consequences of such a decision could be.
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