David Moyes and Chelsea: it could happen
By Richard Buxton
With six months remaining on his current deal, Evertonians are sweating on David Moyes's future, and with good reason.
His refusal to engage in discussions about his future until the close of the transfer window indicates a calmness from the Scot but reports linking him with a summer move to Chelsea will only add to the tenseness which has restored Goodison Park's fortress-like environment.
Should he walk away from the club this summer, Moyes's departure would signify the loss of arguably Everton's finest manager since their 1980's heyday, when they regularly battled for supremacy with Liverpool, and in the eyes of some would be a death knell to its ambitions.
He has proven nothing short of a miracle worker at Everton. Their regular flirtation with relegation is as distant a memory as Gareth Farrelly's goal against Coventry in that final great escape 15 years ago. In its place now stands stability and a hallmark of defying the odds.
Fashioning a team which is not only well drilled but also capable of playing attractive football does not receive the recognition Moyes's 11-year stay in the blue half of Merseyside truly deserves.
In spite of Everton's financial constraints, he has continually evolved the squad by sourcing players with great potential and finding longevity in the more senior players at his disposal.
The limited funds available, for the best part, have served as a challenge that Moyes continues to relish but a move to the Chelsea hot seat could prove irresistible.
As the highest paid member of staff on Everton's payroll, Moyes would rule over the Stamford Bridge dressing room with an iron fist, which would prevent a repeat of the uprising and player power which proved the downfall of several managers at the Bridge in recent times.
No longer needing to strike a fiscal balance, he would have the freedom to build a team in his own image however with it comes ifantasy players signed on Roman Abramovich's whimsy - and the Russian's impatience is a far cry from the stable relationship he enjoys with Everton owner, Bill Kenwright.
But in the same way he has navigated Everton through treacherous financial waters, Moyes would no doubt embrace that task if it allowed him to showcase his talents at the highest level.
It would provide Chelsea with a much-needed foundation and allow them to vie for the Premier League title on an annual basis while his lack of European experience should not be an issue after Abramovich finally clutched the Champions League trophy before discarding of the man, Roberto di Matteo, who won it.
Moyes will celebrate his 50th birthday in April and could be forgiven for questioning how much longer he can realistically keep Everton punching above their weight without new investment. It is a quandary that the Goodison hierarchy continues to ponder with no legitimate suitors on the horizon.
Privately there is a belief that he will commit to the Toffees, with their hunt for continental qualification very much alive. For the club and its supporters, the alternative is currently unthinkable.