The Sunday Mail
The Belgian FA have refused to release Roberto Martinez from the final year of his contract.
And that has left Everton weighing up their next move, as they look to swiftly find a replacement for sacked manager Rafa Benitez, with the club facing the very real threat of a relegation battle.
The Mirror understands that talks which have taken place since the weekend have so far failed completely to make any progress.
The Goodison club even floated the idea of allowing Martinez to perform a dual role – continuing in his position as manager of the Belgium national team, while taking charge of Everton.
That was not an interim role, but a permanent one, doing both side by side until the World Cup finals in Qatar at the end of 2022.
But the Royal Belgian FA were steadfast in refusing to consider such an option and remained unmoved over the final year of the manager’s contract, insisting they want to keep him to it.
That has seen the Premier League side’s board cast its net further, with several other candidates now being considered.
Owner Farhad Moshiri is thought to admire the Roma manager Jose Mourinho, despite his struggles at both Manchester United and Tottenham, while the former Chelsea boss Frank Lampard could also be interviewed.
Others linked with the vacant position include Lucian Favre, who recently left Dortmund, and former Bayern Munich boss Niko Kovac, who most recently managed Monaco, where Moshiri is based.
Sources at Goodison though, have suggested that channels will remain open with the Belgian FA.
But so far, Martinez has indicated he will not give an ultimatum to the organisation he has such a good relationship with after six years as the national coach.
In 2018 he also became the technical director for Belgian football, and he does not want to depart unless he can come to an amicable agreement with his employers.
That seems difficult at present, and the Blues will now consider other options to ensure they find a permanent manager as soon as possible.
Duncan Ferguson, the first team coach who acted as a caretaker manager when Marco Silva was sacked, will take charge of training on Tuesday, and it is likely he will assume an interim role if no permanent successor is found this week.
Everton face Aston Villa on Saturday, and then have a two week break before they play Brentford in the FA Cup. That will allow the club space to explore their options with Martinez or an alternative candidate.
The club announced that along with Benitez, four members of his staff will also depart, offering space for the new manager to recruit his own backroom team. – Mirror