Title-winning former Everton man Andy Gray has issued a plea to Toffees owner Farhad Moshiri to abort a move for Rafa Benitez.

Benitez is in advanced talks to take the reins at Goodison Park following a breakdown in talks with one-time top target Nuno Espirito Santo, formerly of Wolves.

If Benitez is indeed appointed, he will become the first tactician to have taken charge of both Everton and Liverpool football clubs in his career.

Back in 2019, Benitez refused to rule himself out of taking up the job at Goodison Park and now looks as close as he has ever been to the dugout at Everton.

Despite leaving Liverpool over a decade ago, ex-Everton star Gray has claimed the Spanish tactician should be ‘nowhere near’ the Everton job in a scathing assessment of Benitez’ suitability.

When asked by the Liverpool Echo as to what he thought of the prospect of a Benitez-filled dugout, Gray claimed:

“Not much at all.

“I think if Farhad Moshiri goes ahead with that, even if he didn’t know what Evertonians feel or think, he will find a huge amount – I would guess the majority – will not be so happy either.

“I’ve spoken to a few people in the Liverpool area and they say if it happens they’re not going back….

“Think again, Farhad. Please, think again very quickly.

“If it had been 10, 11 years ago when he left Liverpool, maybe. If he was the last person Everton could appoint, maybe.

“But 10, 11 years since then? Has Rafa lit up the footballing world as a coach?

“Should he be managing Everton in my opinion? No. Should he be anywhere near the job? No.”

Read Everton Verdict

Although certainly a divisive appointment, Benitez will know results will speak for themselves.

If he is indeed appointed, showing early signs of improvement will be vital in convincing Evertonians that he is the man to carry them forward.

If he can achieve that, his ageing Liverpool ties will soon fade from the forefront of sceptical minds.