Greg O’Keeffe has detailed the chaos at Everton in recent weeks which culminated in the sacking of Rafa Benitez on Tuesday.
The former Liverpool boss was relieved of his managerial duties after less than seven months at Goodison.
It follows a turbulent season for the Toffees, which has been marked by a host of high-profile departures, including Director of Football Marcel Brands last month.
O’Keeffe joined Nathan on Thursday’s Football Show. The Athletic writer detailed how much Benitez factored in the drama at the club so far this season.
“Marcel Brands’ departure wasn’t at Rafa Benitez’s behest - he didn’t drum him out of the club,” O’Keeffe said.
“But at the same time, we know that Rafa goes into clubs, and he’s a control freak.”
“He would say he wants to improve every department and drive it up to the standard he expects. That’s fair enough; he has very high expectations.”
“But he will do that by wanting to control every department, and shape it in his image.”
“So, in recruitment, he was always wanting to bring in his own players.”
“I’m not sure quite how much he was willing to bend to Marcus Brands’ vision, or that they were working together as you would expect.”
“He was part of the reason Marcel Brands felt that he had to leave the club. I don’t think he felt the board were fully on the same page as him either.”
“Then, Danny Donachie - that was totally on Rafa,” O’Keeffe continued. “He demands more, and he decides that Danny isn’t good enough.”
“He goes and brings in someone from Newcastle: Cristian Fernandez.”
O'Keeffe: "It’s like they lurch from one bad decision to another"
O’Keeffe went on to explain the circumstances surrounding Lucas Digne’s departure from Everton.
Digne was signed by Aston Villa this week for a reported fee of around £25 million.
However, O’Keeffe gave further details on the revelation that Digne’s move was the result of a falling out between the French international and Benitez.
“He has got his reasons for this; by all accounts, Lucas Digne’s behaviour and his unwillingness to put the team before himself was far from ideal.”
“But he’s still one of Everton’s best players - he’s France left-back.”
“The suggestion from Rafa was that Lucas Digne was unhappy about being taken off set pieces and asked to play a more defensive role.”
“Digne’s game is all about getting forward, making crosses, pre-assists - he’s an attacking left-back.”
“Rafa wanted him to drop back and help out defensively.”
“And he wasn’t happy - he was complaining, so in discord, moaning about - and their relationship began to fracture.”
“So, they fall out, Everton back Rafa, they sell him to a rival, who they should be competing with for the same league spot.”
“And then, two or three days after they let Digne go, they sack the manager.”
“It’s just this disarray - it’s like they lurch from one bad decision to another.”
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