Everton have called time on their pursuit of Watford manager Marco Silva after failing to tempt the Hornets into parting with their much-lauded coach and will now have to look elsewhere as they attempt to appoint Ronald Koeman's successor.
Toffees majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri had made former Hull City boss Silva his number one target to replace Koeman, who was relieved of his duties over a month ago, and was prepared to offer around £10m in order to prise the Portuguese out of Hertfordshire.
But Watford were staunch in their refusal to part with Silva or even enter negotiations with Everton, according to The Independent, and have made their anger regarding the unwanted approach clear to the troubled Toffees, who believe a move for Silva is now dead in the water unless the former Estoril coach decides to take matters into his own hands and resign.
Silva had designs on a move to Everton and was keen to hold talks with the Merseysiders about succeeding Koeman, who was sacked after overseeing a dreadful start to the new campaign which has barely improved in his absence, but the 40-year-old is reluctant to push for a move so soon after arriving at Vicarage Road.
Watford were always in a strong position over Silva's future, given that his contract does not include a release clause, but their stance may soften at the end of the season. It remains to be seen if Everton are still in the hunt for a new manager at that time, but there do not seem to be many potential candidates left to take the reins at Goodison Park at this stage.
Everton interim boss David Unsworth has made no secret of his desire to assume control permanently, and the former Toffees full-back could well be given the role until the end of the season, with his case getting stronger with each passing day. 'Rhino' was believed be Everton chairman Bill Kenwright's first-choice to replace Koeman, but three defeats from his five matches in charge did not help Unsworth.
Former England manager Sam Allardyce ruled himself out of taking over last week after growing frustrated by Everton's patient approach, while Carlo Ancelotti and Diego Simeone have also distanced themselves from the role in recent weeks.
Burnley boss Sean Dyche was expected to immediately replace Koeman when the Dutchman was sacked in October, but reports linking the former Watford manager with Everton have died down in recent weeks. Former Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal also saw fit to rule himself out of taking the job, but the Dutchman never entered Everton's thinking.