By George Overhill

13th Jan, 2022 | 9:10am

Max Allegri's last-minute change of heart lead to Carlo Ancelotti's Everton exit

Carlo Ancelotti’s shock Everton exit was “one step away” from being avoided, according to Massimiliano Allegri’s agent Giovanni Branchini.

The agent said all that was left was his client’s signature to complete his appointment as Real Madrid manager, before he then chose to return to Juventus.

The Spanish giants subsequently turned to their own former boss and Ancelotti asked to leave Goodison to return to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Branchini told Sky Sport in Italy, as quoted by The Liverpool Echo: “Allegri was one step away from being appointed as new Real Madrid manager in May. It was all done.

“The agreement was done. He only needed to put a signature on the contract. Then he chose to re-join Juve.”

Sliding doors moment

Allegri may be wishing he had signed the contract waiting for him with Los Blancos as his return to Turin has not been as smooth as hoped.

The Old Lady currently sit fifth in Serie A, 11 points leaders Inter, a far cry from the near total dominance he presided over during his first spell in charge.

Everton fans will certainly be wishing the Italian had not had the change of heart as it likely would mean his compatriot would still be the Toffees boss, rather than the perennially-unpopular Rafael Benitez.

The three-time Champions League winner was not overwhelmingly successful on Merseyside, delivering mid-table finishes in both of his seasons in charge.

But while Benitez’s results would leave the club in a similar league position once games in hand are accounted for, the style of the play and the atmosphere around the club have suffered.

The Spaniard is a Champions League winner himself but he won that trophy during his time with bitter rivals Liverpool, and aside from some early-season flashes he has done little to win over a sceptical fan-base.

In other Everton news, this pundit has referred to the atmosphere around the club as “toxic”.