ALISHER USMANOV is the driving force behind the move to make Rafa Benitez Everton’s new boss.
The influence of the Russian oligarch — a close friend of Toffees owner Farhad Moshiri — is growing behind the scenes at Goodison.
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He was instrumental in the appointment of Sam Allardyce and Moshiri sought his advice before bringing in Marco Silva as Big Sam’s replacement.
And despite a large number of fans unhappy with the thought of former Liverpool boss Benitez in charge, Moshiri is intent on making the Spaniard the fifth manager since he took over five years ago.
Usmanov, who is worth around £14billion, once jointly held a 30 per cent stake in Arsenal with Moshiri.
The Russian is using the clout he bought with his £30million deal for the naming rights to Everton’s training ground, USM Finch Farm.
Usmanov, 67, has also put down a £30m deposit as part of a ten-year £200m agreement to have their new £700m Bramley-Moore Dock stadium named after his company.
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Whether Benitez is finally appointed or not, it is almost certain James Rodriguez will be leaving.
The Colombian has struggled with injuries and is halfway through a two-year £100,000-a-week deal.
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