By G9ija

Rafa Benitez has emerged as serious contender to succeed Carlo Ancelotti at Everton

Former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez has emerged as a genuine contender to succeed Carlo Ancelotti at Everton.

The Toffees were left reeling after the Italian’s decision to abandon the club after just 18 months at the helm, unable to resist the lure of a return to Real Madrid.

Everton held discussions with the representatives of Nuno Espirito Santo, who recently left Wolves after an impressive stint at Molineux, but talks failed to progress.

David Moyes represents another intriguing option, but a potential return to Goodison Park is complicated by his ongoing talks with West Ham over a new deal.

Everton’s former manager helped the Hammers qualify for the Europa League after finishing sixth last season and is said to enjoy a strong relationship with the club’s board.

With the potential options dwindling, Everton’s owner Farhad Moshiri, according to The Telegraph, is considering a move for Benitez who arguably spent the most successful period of his managerial career across Stanley Park at Anfield.

The Spaniard is currently available after his spell with Chinese Super League club Dalian Professional came to an end and is keen on a return to the Premier League, nearly two years after a reputation enhancing spell with Newcastle came to an end.