By Noel Whelan

9th Dec, 2019 | 4:00pm

'Is this a joke?' - Exclusive: Whelan reacts as Everton meet contender for London talks

Everton must avoid hiring Unai Emery as their new manager at all costs.

That is according to ex-Leeds United striker Noel Whelan, speaking exclusively to Football Insider about the club approaching the Spaniard to become their new boss.

Everton have met with Emery in London to discuss the possibility of him becoming the permanent successor to Marco Silva, who was sacked last week.

The 48-year-old was dismissed himself a fortnight ago when his 18-month Arsenal reign came to an end.

Asked by Football Insider if Emery would be a sound choice to take over at Everton, Whelan replied: “Absolutely not. Is this a joke?

“Why would you want a manager who has struggled in the Premier League at a club where there are even better players?

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“No, definitely not. Forget Emery, Everton would be far better off going for someone who’s right under their noses, Duncan Ferguson.”

Everton are working their way through an increasingly long managerial shortlist that includes ex-boss David Moyes, Shanghai SIPG manager Vitor Pereira and Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti as well as Getafe’s Jose Bordalas.

Football Insider revealed last Friday that Bordeaux manager Paulo Sousa is also on their radar after transforming the fortunes of the Ligue 1 side.

The Toffees have handed the reins on a temporary basis to Duncan Ferguson, who oversaw an uplifting 3-1 win over Chelsea on Saturday at Goodison Park.

In other Everton news, it can be REVEALED how senior players have been left sniggering behind the back of senior man.