SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Everton coach Roberto Martinez looks on before the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Everton at the Stadium of Light on May 11, 2016 in Sunderland, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

The first big axe to fall on a Premier League manager has taken the head of Everton coach Roberto Martinez, who guided the club through three fairly unspectacular seasons.

After succeeding long-time head man David Moyes, his first season was a success, with The Toffees finishing in fifth place, one spot off a Champions League finish.

However, last season saw an uninspiring drop to 11th, and no further improvement on that place this year saw an end to the Spaniards’ time on Merseyside.

With the 2013 FA Cup winner now having being dismissed from his role, let’s take a look at some of the potential candidates to take over one of the more high-profile gigs in English football.

Rafa Benitez

It’s almost certain Rafa Benitez will depart Newcastle now, and he will do so with the unenviable tag of “most expensive team to be relegated ever”. Whilst Benitez has undoubtedly improved things at St. James’ Park, his stock is at an all-time low.

Whilst this hire may roll the eyes of some Evertonians, Benitezs’ pedigree still stands as impressive, and if he still has the drive to manage, Goodison Park may not be a bad landing spot for him.

Of course the large stumbling block remains that Rafa is still a Kop favourite, and that may prove a large hurdle to overcome in tempting the Spaniard to take up a post across town.

David Moyes

This would certainly be a fascinating storyline – one of the clubs’ favourites sons and most successful recent managers making a triumphant return to the club after spells at Real Sociedad and of course Manchester United.

While this is still unlikely – the bookeis have it at 12/1 – it would not be crazy to see those odds slashed were Moyes interested in his old job back. He knows the club and the town well, and is still a popular figure at Goodison Park.

While the vacancy at Celtic may appeal more to the Scotsman, this is certainly a marriage that a lot of EPL fans would love to see.

Manuel Pellegrini

Manuel Pellegrini would certainly be a popular choice among Everton fans, as the Chilean boasts trophies and a generally good record in spending, which is something that the stingier budget clubs tend to value highly.

Pellegrini also plays an exciting, attacking style, which endeared most Blues fans to Roberto Martinez in the first place. However, it may indeed be that a departure from that kind of football is necessary for Everton going forward.

He’s currently 8/1 with the bookies, which are quite decent odds. This is another storyline that would be quite a popular one around the league going into next season.

Ronald Koeman

Ronald Koeman is one of the more popular and well-respected managers around the league, even by the bigger clubs. The success he has brought Southampton on a shoestring budget is nothing short of genius.

Koeman has dared to venture outside the traditional British market that the smaller clubs like to stick to, and whilst this has not been a success 100% of the time, it is certainly refreshing for the English game.

Recruiting Koeman would be a statement of intent from Everton, along the lines of “we are a far better club than where we finished this season”. Managing to capture the Dutchman may indeed rest on his long-term ambitions, and whether or not he would like to test himself on a larger budget.

Frank de Boer

Yet another Dutchman and this one is the current favourite, Frank de Boer right now seems almost certain to be managing at Everton next season.

He just days ago left Dutch giants Ajax, his first managerial appointment, and leaves them having won 4 successive Erdivise titles, which was almost 5 this year.

De Boer is considered one of the best up and coming managers in the world, and along with being the bookies’ favourite, he would almost certainly be the favourite among the fans.