Ronald Koeman paid the price for Everton’s disappointing start to the season with his job on Monday.
The Merseyside club slipped into the relegation zone on Sunday following a 5-2 defeat at home to Arsenal, a result that proved the final straw for the club's hierachy.
A statement from the club read: “Chairman Bill Kenwright, the board of directors and major shareholder Farhad Moshiri would all like to express their gratitude to Ronald for the service he has given to the club over the past 16 months and for guiding the club to seventh place in last season’s Premier League campaign.”
Koeman led the club to a seventh-place finish in his first season in charge at Goodison Park and was rewarded with a summer war chest unprecedented in the club’s history.
An outlay of £144 million (Dh677.5m) was spent recruiting the likes of goalkeeper Jordan Pickford from Sunderland, defender Will Keane from Burnley, Ajax midfielder Davy Klaassen, Swansea City playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson and bringing Wayne Rooney back from Manchester United 13 years after he left his boyhood club.
The returns though have been minimal. Two wins in the nine Premier League games to start the campaign, two home defeats in four days - 2-1 to Lyon in the Europa League and the reverse to Arsenal - and the chorus of boos that followed each time proved the 54-year-old Dutchman’s undoing.
Koeman’s problems can be tracked back to that summer of spending. The former Southampton manager failed to replace the gaping Romelu Lukaku-shaped hole at the tip of his attack. The departure of the Belgian, who joined Manchester United for £75m in the summer, left the Merseysiders without a proven goalscorer.
Everton are the joint-third lowest scorers in the league, with only bottom club Crystal Palace with a worse goal difference.
Koeman reported for training at the club’s Finch Farm facility yesterday morning looking to prepare his beleaguered side for tomorrow’s League Cup game away to Chelsea.
But Kenwright and chief executive Robert Elstone were later reported arriving on site and Koeman’s dismissal was confirmed soon after.
Koeman becomes the third managerial departure of the season. Frank de Boer was dismissed by Crystal Palace after only four games with no points or goals while last week Leicester City parted company with Craig Shakespeare.
Richard Jolly: Koeman loses control of narrative after Arsenal defeat
Speaking after his final outing in the dugout, Koeman confronted speculation over his position head-on.
“I still believe I can change the whole situation but everybody knows how it works in football. That is all I answer about this situation,” he said. “If you start to think negatively then maybe there is no solution. I am not like that. All the rumours in the newspapers are normal.
“All these kinds of decisions are not in my hands.”
With Koeman gone the search for his replacement begins. The early frontrunners are Sean Dyche, whose Burnley side beat Everton 1-0 at Goodison this month and who has worked wonders at a club with a budget a fraction the size of Everton’s.
David Unsworth, the club’s Under 23s manager, is also thought to be considered while it was reported in some British media that the club are preparing a shock move to install David Moyes as their manager for a second time after a largely successful 11-year stint in charge from 2002 to 2013.