Nikica Jelavic has admitted that he is “definitely” interested in managing Everton as his target is to coach in the Premier League.
The Croatian forward spent two and a half seasons at Goodison Park as a player before retiring two years ago, and is now in charge of Lokomotiv Zagreb under-19s side, but visited Finch Farm during the international break last week.
He already holds his UEFA A and B licences and is awaiting enrolment on the Pro Licence course, but after a year out of football following the end of his playing days he has big plans for his management career which includes revisiting some of his former clubs, with Everton and Rangers jobs he has his eye on thanks to the influences of David Moyes and Walter Smith respectively.
The Croatian told Sky Sports reporter Vinny O’Connor: “I want to be a manager in the Premier League so this is the target for the future.”
The 37-year-old added on taking charge at his previous sides: “Listen, you never know in the future but, definitely, that would be great, especially Rangers and Everton. With both of these two clubs I really have special memories.”
He is not stepping on Dyche’s toes though, as he backed the current boss to emulate his former Toffees manager Moyes: “This is something that Everton needs. Because Everton with David Moyes, his era Everton was always a tough place to come and play.
“The big teams, they hated playing at Goodison. So this now becomes something similar. Everton needs someone who is actually a tough manager.”
In the wings
On current evidence it will be Dyche’s job to lose for a while thanks to the lift he has given the club in the relegation battle, but there was a similar movement afoot last year under Frank Lampard and the wheels came off for him in his second season.
Jelavic scored 21 goals in 69 Toffees performances and is clearly ambitious about his management career so if he has success in his early years there is no reason why he couldn’t follow in Moyes and Dyche’s footsteps by taking charge of the club.
It will no doubt be some time away, but if Farhad Moshiri stays in place like it appears he intends to do it could be sooner than elsewhere with the rate the owner burns through coaches.
And from the sounds of things Jelavic is in the mould of the current boss, and long-time manager Moyes, which is certainly proving to be what the club needs right now.
It was the fans as much as anything that made Everton tough to beat at Goodison Park late last season under Lampard, but now it is as just as much the team itself.
Dyche has got them organised and filled with belief at home, to the tune of three 1-0 wins, and the points he has picked up so far have the club in a much better position in the relegation battle.
Goalscoring at home could still do with picking up but Jelavic’s assessment of Dyche as a “tough” manager is certainly evident in the frequency of clean sheets.