Everton are no closer to appointing Ronald Koeman's permanent successor after Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo warned the Toffees to stay away from Diego Simeone, who had emerged as an unlikely candidate for the Goodison Park hotseat last week.
Everton's majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri had reportedly identified 'Cholo' as his top target to succeed Koeman, who was relieved of his duties three weeks ago. The Merseysiders have been linked with a host of managers since the Dutchman departed, but Simeone, who recently signed a new contract in the Spanish capital until 2020, is the most reputable figure to be rumoured with a stint at Goodison Park.
Everton's task of prying Simeone from the Wanda Metropolitano looked arduous from the outset, and Atletico president Cerezo made it abundantly clear that Los Colchoneros will not entertain any offers for their esteemed coach, who has led them to two Champions League finals and one La Liga title since taking over in 2011.
"I want to say this in a loud voice," Cerezo was quoted as saying by Sky Sports. "Simeone is untouchable at Atletico Madrid, for the players, for the directors and for the supporters. Having doubts about Cholo Simeone is not allowed here.
"No club in the world has had 115 years of continuous and wonderful sporting success. We have had good, bad and average seasons and right now we're in a good one. It only just started and we're not even a third of the way through La Liga and we're fighting for everything."
The Everton hierarchy would have expected such a stance from Atletico, who are currently eight points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona, but they may have been slightly disappointed to learn of Marco Silva's desire to remain at Watford until the end of the season.
Silva, whose side were beaten by Everton in a topsy-turvy game before the international break, was appointed manager at Vicarage Road in the summer and has garnered many admirers since arriving in England to take over at Hull City at the start of the year. The former Estoril boss was another of Moshiri's top targets, but the Times report that he is not willing to jump ship mid-season.
Burnley boss Sean Dyche is now the favourite for the role in the wake of Silva's rejection, but he is neither Moshiri nor Bill Kenwright's first-choice candidate for the role, with the latter open to handing interim boss David Unsworth the reins until the end of the season.
'Rhino' has overseen three defeats and one victory during his second spell as Everton caretaker manager and will take charge of the first-team squad against Crystal Palace on Saturday (18 November) if the situation remains the same. The former Toffees full-back has made no secret of his desire to be given the role on a permanent basis but is not aware of the club's thinking as they approach a month without a manager.
Asked about Everton's managerial situation on Saturday, Unsworth said: "Very much as it was after the game [against Watford]. I just continue to do my best, give my all for the club.
"There's no news to report, I certainly haven't been told any more on what's going on. I just continue to come in every day, give my best with the staff and the players and we'll just see where it takes us and what will be, will be."