In yet another blow to Everton, Ralf Rangnick is close to extending his contract as sporting director of RB Leipzig this week.
Rangnick has emerged as a leading contender to become succeed Ronald Koeman as Everton manager.
The Toffees had made Marco Silva their prime target but Watford are refusing to let him go and rejected an approach from Merseyside club just last week.
Rangick has managed a host of clubs in Germany and has overseen Leipzig’s rise to Bundesliga title challengers.
RB Leipzig chief executive Oliver Mintzlaff says that talks over an extension at the Bundesliga club are at an advanced stage.
“We expect to extend the contract ahead of schedule this week,” Mintzlaff told SportBild.
“Ralf Rangnick is the sportive engine of our club and therefore also essential for our future development.”
The highly-respected 58-year-old was interviewed for the Everton manager’s position in 2013, but the club decided to appoint Roberto Martinez instead. The FA were also interested in him as a replacement for Roy Hodgson after Euro 2016.
Everton have won one of their last 10 matches in all competitions. Under-23 boss David Unsworth is in caretaker charge and has won one of his five games so far.
Everton face Atalanta at Goodison Park in the Europa League this evening and return to Premier League action against Southampton on Sunday.
The Toffees are currently 16th in the Premier League table after Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Crystal Palace.
In other Everton news, here is the latest on the Toffees’ pursuit of Watford boss Marco Silva.