By Paddy Kenny

23rd Jun, 2021 | 6:00pm

Kenny baffled by 'very strange' Benitez-Everton twist as Usmanov signs off plan

It is “very strange” that Rafael Benitez is the frontrunner for the Everton job given his history with cross-city rivals Liverpool.

That is according to ex-Sheffield United goalkeeper Paddy Kenny, speaking exclusively to Football Insider about the latest in Everton’s manager hunt.

Alisher Usmanov has Spaniard for the vacant position at Goodison Park, as revealed by this site earlier today.

Benitez was all but set to take over last Thursday before a fans’ backlash resulted in fears he was not wanted at the club.

But powerful voices within Everton, led by mega-rich benefactor Usmanov, are still pushing for the 61-year-old’s appointment.

Kenny claims Benitez’s legendary status at Anfield and a schism at executive level over his suitability make him a sub-optimal candidate.

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He told Football Insider correspondent Adam Williams: “I live in Sheffield and I could never imagine a Sheffield Wednesday manager coming to manage Sheffield United.

“I think with what he’s achieved at Liverpool, winning the Champions League, he’s an absolute legend there.

“I find it really strange, them going after him. I’ve heard earlier on in the week on the radio that the board are massively split down the middle.

“It’s not a good start when that happens, is it?

Benitez has managed Chelsea and most recently Newcastle United in the Premier League as well as Liverpool.

This site revealed on 19th June that his advisors are urging him to rebuff Everton’s advances and wait for the St. James’ Park job to become available following a potential PiF takeover.

In other news, pundit mystified amid reported Arsenal swoop for Everton star.