Everton have announced the departure of manager Sam Allardyce after less than a season at Goodison Park, with Marco Silva and Paulo Fonseca among the early favourites to replace him.
Allardyce took over at Goodison Park in November and had a further 12 months left on his contract, but Everton have relieved the former England boss of his duties on Merseyside amid high levels of fan discontent.
"On behalf of the chairman, board of directors and [owner Farhad] Moshiri, I'd like to thank Sam for the job he has done at Everton over the last seven months," CEO Denise Barrett-Baxendale said in a statement. "Sam was brought in at a challenging time last season to provide us with some stability and we are grateful to him for doing that.
"However, we have made the decision that, as part of our longer-term plan, we will be appointing a new manager this summer and will be commencing this process immediately. Again, we'd like to place on record our sincere thanks to Sam for his work with us over the last few months and wish him well for the future."
It has been reported that Allardyce's backroom team of Sammy Lee -- another unpopular appointment as a former Liverpool player -- and Craig Shakespeare will also depart, and Steve Walsh, the director of football, has left the club as well after being replaced by Marcel Brands, formerly the technical director at PSV Eindhoven.
Brands oversaw PSV's three Eredivisie titles in the last four seasons, having previously transformed the fortunes of RKC Waalwijk and AZ Alkmaar.
"It is a privilege to be joining Everton as director of football and I am incredibly excited to take on this challenge," he said. "The fantastic passion of the fans for their club, the magnificent history of the club over the years and the ambition -- and purpose we have as people tasked with driving the club forward -- all mean that we need to be competing for honours against the Premier League elite.
"It is no straightforward challenge but this must be our motivation each and every day. Now we will look to build something really strong and lasting here at Everton."
Allardyce, 63, took charge of Everton when they were 13th in the Premier League, five points clear of the relegation zone, as he became the permanent successor to Ronald Koeman, who left the club in 18th by the time of his sacking in October.
Everton managed an eighth-placed finish in the league this season, but Allardyce's style of play and form away from home failed to win support from the fanbase.
A dismal start to the season under Ronald Koeman had Everton fearing being sucked into a relegation battle but stability and a push towards the Europa League spots did not placate the Everton support after Allardyce was given an 18-month contract.
Silva, the former Watford manager, is the favourite to take over and could complete the move to Goodison Park six months after the club failed to prise him away from Vicarage Road.
Watford refused to let Silva go only to sack him in January, citing the disruption caused by Everton's "unwarranted approach" for a major dip in form.
Fonseca, the Shakhtar Donetsk coach, has also been linked with Everton as well as West Ham, and Louis van Gaal, Andre Villas-Boas, Sergio Conceicao, Sean Dyche and Eddie Howe are other names reportedly in the frame.
Information from Press Association Sport was used in this report.