Everton expect to appoint a new manager by early next week as talks with Rafa Benitez continue today.

The Blues are almost 17 days into their search for Carlo Ancelotti's replacement, making this hunt for a new boss the third longest of the Farhad Moshiri era.

Benitez emerged as the leading contender for the job, earlier this week, but Everton were set to go away and review their list of candidates before making a decision.

The Spanish coach is still expecting to be offered the job and, it is believed, will hold further discussions today with the club's hierarchy about becoming the Blues' fifth appointment in as many years.

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Nuno Espirito Santo felt he was in pole position at this point last week but Everton remained adamant that while the former Wolves boss was a 'strong candidate' that no decision had been taken.

And, as reported by the ECHO earlier this week, it emerged that the Blues were still talking to managers other than Espirito Santo - including Benitez.

And now the former Liverpool boss - whose potential appointment has angered a lot of supporters - is leading the chase to takeover from Ancelotti, who abruptly left for Real Madrid on June 1.

And the ECHO has been told that the club expect to have appointed the club's new manager by early next week.