By Gabriel Agbonlahor

29th Jun, 2021 | 4:00pm

Agbonlahor: Everton set for 'toxic' and 'poisonous' atmosphere after Benitez update

Gabby Agbonlahor is baffled the Everton hierarchy have not communicated with the fan base as they close in on hiring Rafa Benitez as their new manager.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-Aston Villa and England forward insisted Everton fans have “every right to be angry” that the ex-Liverpool boss is set to take over at Goodison Park.

Football Insider revealed on Sunday (27 June) the Newcastle United consortium working on the takeover have been told Everton’s appointment of Benitez is “99 per cent done”.

That is despite widespread backlash among the Everton fanbase after the Spaniard was linked to the job.

“It’s similar to what happened with Villa and Alex McLeish,” Agbonlahor told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley.

“The only difference is that was four weeks after the Blues had been relegated but this has been 10 years since Benitez managed Liverpool.

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“I was fuming at Alex McLeish coming in as a Villa player and Villa fan. Everton fans are very passionate and they’ll look at it and think ‘You’ve got how many managers in the world you can choose from? And you’re giving it to a guy who had six years at Liverpool and won the Champions League and said some things about Everton in the past.’

“Everton fans have every right to be angry. I think I would be angry. They’re going to see it as if they don’t get into the top four or win a trophy in that first season, it’s a failure. They’re not going to give him the benefit of the doubt.

“It will be like it was at Aston Villa, a toxic, poisonous atmosphere at the ground. Every time Everton lose it will be toxic.

“It doesn’t make sense that the owners haven’t communicated to the fanbase because they’re the ones that love the club.”

In other news, Everton have submitted a big-money offer to a star who had a bust-up last term.