Everton signal massive ambition with Ancelotti appointment

Everton F.C. stunned the footballing world last weekend by signing Carlo Ancelotti. Carletto will join the Toffees on a four and a half year contract for a reported salary of £14m a year, plus a £2.5m bonus for avoiding relegation.

Ancelotti, 60, is widely regarded as one of the most successful managers of all time, having won the Champions League a record 3 times (only matched by Zinédine Zidane and Bob Paisley) and the FIFA Club World Cup twice.

His name may bring back bittersweet memories to Everton fans, as he coached Milan in the 2005 Champions League final that handed Liverpool the title in what is arguably the greatest CL comeback ever. On the other hand, he took revenge on the Reds two years later by beating them in the 2007 final and clinching his second European title as a manager.

After an eight-year spell at Milan he had successful stints at Chelsea (which he left with the third-highest win percentage in PL history), Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Bayern Münich. His greatest post-Milan achievement came at Real Madrid, where he led the Merengues to their historic tenth (and his third personal) Champions League title.

A one-year hiatus after the Bayern job led to speculation that he was in talks to become manager of the Italian national team. That post ultimately went to Roberto Mancini, and in September 2018 Ancelotti signed a two-year contract with Napoli. His second season with the Parthenopeans proved to be one of the least successful of his managerial career, as the team entered a winless streak of nearly two months – for which he is only partly to blame – which led to him being sacked on December 10. He was not jobless for long, however, as rumours soon mounted that he was poised to take over at Everton.

Ancelotti was watching from the stands last Saturday as Everton drew 0-0 against Arsenal with Duncan Ferguson at his second and last match as caretaker boss. He will sit on the Toffees’ bench for the first time on Boxing Day, as Everton are playing Burnley in a match where Oddschecker sees them as clear favourites.

The signing of Ancelotti may raise some eyebrows among sceptics who believe his experience with top teams doesn’t make him the right man to rebuild struggling teams. After a dire first half of the season, Everton currently sit in 16th position and are only 4 points shy of the relegation zone.

Nevertheless, his appointment comes across as incredibly ambitious for a club whose only European trophy to date is the 1985 European Cup Winners’ Cup.

Ancelotti’s debut next Thursday may be of a personal significance to him, as it was a defeat at Goodison Park that caused his departure from English football back in 2011. As they say, “if you can’t beat them, join them”.