Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich 'recommends Rafa Benitez to Everton board after being impressed by Spaniard in 2012'

EVERTON are closing in on naming Rafa Benitez as their next manager after Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich reportedly gave his seal of approval.

Benitez, 61, was appointed Chelsea's interim boss in November 2012 until the end of the season following the dismissal of Roberto Di Matteo.


He went on to guide the West London club to a third place finish in the Premier League table.

The Blues also lifted the Europa League trophy for the first time in their history after they beat Benfica 2-1 in the final.

And according to The Independent, Abramovich was impressed enough by Benitez's work that he recommended him to Alisher Usmanov, a confidante and long-time business partner of Everton owner Farhad Moshiri.

The Toffees have been seeking a new head coach since Carlo Ancelotti's shock departure earlier this month.

The 62-year-old Italian stunned fans by walking out on the club and returning to Real Madrid for a second spell with the Spanish giants.

But now Benitez is expected to be named as Everton’s new boss by Monday at the latest.

Sun Sport revealed that Russian oligarch Usmanov has a growing influence behind the scenes at Goodison even if his close friend Moshiri is majority owner.

It is he who has pushed for Benitez to be brought in – despite opposition from large sections of the Everton support.

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Not only because Benitez was Liverpool manager but because he also called the Toffees a “small club".

Chairman Bill Kenwright is understood to have been dead against bringing in the Spaniard.

But Usmanov, who partnered Moshiri in a 30 per cent holding in Arsenal before both sold out, has persuaded the British Iranian that Benitez, who still has a home on Merseyside, is the right man for the job.

The former Liverpool and Chelsea boss has already been linked with bringing a number of new players to Goodison Park.

These include ex-West Brom and Newcastle striker Salomon Rondon, PSV wing-back Denzel Dumfries, Juventus defender Merih Demiral and Barcelona keeper Neto.

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