By George Overhill

25th Jan, 2023 | 1:10pm

Sam Allardyce still has admirers within the Everton hierarchy and talks have already been held over a potential return, the Daily Mail reports.

Key members of the playing staff have reportedly been consulted over the replacement to Frank Lampard, who was sacked on Monday (23 January) after losing 2-0 at West Ham two days earlier.

Amid fears that the Toffees will be rejected by top target Marcelo Bielsa, who is thought to have “major doubts” over the squad after telling the club the players were “too slow”, Everton are considering a return to Allardyce who previously kept the club up during the 2017/18 season.

The Daily Mail report says: “Sportsmail has learned that Everton chiefs have canvassed senior players about their search for Lampard’s successor.

“Key figures within the hierarchy remain admirers of their previous manager Sam Allardyce — boss at Goodison in 2017-18 — and he has also held initial talks over replacing Lampard.

“There is a feeling at Everton that Allardyce’s experience in guiding relegation-threatened teams to safety would give the club a strong chance of avoiding the drop.”

Never go back?

Big Sam prides himself of being a relegation battle specialist, and the sad truth of the matter is that in the first instance that is what Everton need.

He was appointed once to do that job and succeeded, although the supporters didn’t enjoy his football and he wasn’t retained after the end of the season despite signing an 18-month deal.

It is a measure of the dreadful situation at Goodison Park that a return to that position five years later, when unpopular even then, is potentially on the cards.

Bielsa transformed Leeds United, but did so in the Championship and over time, so expecting him to come in and produce the same adaptation to his infamous way of playing immediately seems a stretch when top flight safety is under serious threat.

Even Allardyce took a major blow to his record of avoiding the drop when his West Brom side went down in his previous job, and while a back-to-basics approach may be the answer right now it is surely not a long-term measure.

Farhad Moshiri has put himself, and more importantly the club, in the miserable position of needing a manager as quickly as possible with the transfer window winding down but also needing to ensure that it is the right choice and not a panic appointment.

That this is the second consecutive season that Everton are in exactly this predicament would be almost laughable if the stakes weren’t so high for a long-suffering fanbase beaten down by one crisis after another.

Unfortunately it is now imperative that whoever comes in can get a tune out of the current squad above all, something Lampard could no longer do, and guides the Toffees to safety.

But if that is Allardyce then yet another managerial change seems likely to be on the horizon sooner rather than later.