London (AFP) – Everton appointed Carlo Ancelotti as the Toffees’ new manager on a four-and-a-half year deal on Saturday in a major coup for a club mired in the bottom half of the Premier League table. 

Ancelotti, 60, watched Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Arsenal from the stands at Goodison Park. He will take charge for the first time on Boxing Day for visit of Burnley.

The three-time Champions League winning coach was sacked by Napoli earlier this month but comes with a trophy-laden CV from spells at a clutch of Europe’s top clubs, including Juventus, AC Milan, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.

Ancelotti has won league titles in four different countries.

However, his immediate task will be just to steer Everton away from the relegation zone as they sit just four points above the drop zone in 15th and could drop closer to the foot of the table by the end of the weekend.

“This is a great club with a rich history and a very passionate fan base,” Ancelotti said in a club statement.

“There is a clear vision from the owner and the board to deliver success and trophies.

“That is something that appeals to me as a manager and I am thrilled at the prospect of being able to work with everybody at the club to help make that vision a reality.”

Caretaker manager Duncan Ferguson was rewarded for taking five points from three tough games against Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal with a role in Ancelotti’s backroom team.

“It’s fantastic for the club, a guy of that pedigree coming here,” Ferguson told BT Sport. “I cannot wait to start working with him and I’m sure I’ll learn a lot.”

– ‘Key ingredients’ –

Ancelotti was full of praise for Ferguson’s short time in charge and believes by taking points from three of the Premier League’s traditional top six, Everton’s squad has shown what it is capable of.

“I have seen from the performances in the last two weeks that the players are capable of so much,” added Ancelotti.

“The work Duncan has done is a great credit to him. Strong organisation, strong discipline and the right motivation are some of the key ingredients in football and I’m pleased that he will be part of my backroom team moving forward.”

Ancelotti is used to dining at European football’s top table, but has been lured to Liverpool by a bumper contract to fulfil the ambitions of Everton’s majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri.

The British-Iranian businessman has ploughed in hundreds of millions of pounds over the past three years.

However, that investment has not reaped much reward on the pitch as Everton have finished seventh, eighth and eighth in the three full seasons since Moshiri’s takeover.

“It is a pleasure to now welcome Carlo Ancelotti to Everton. He is one of the finest managers in world football and a proven winner, having achieved a remarkable level of success in each of Europe’s major leagues,” said Everton director of football Marcel Brands.

“He is the perfect appointment for us. He embraces our vision for the club and we are sure that his enthusiasm to take the helm at Goodison together with his tactical abilities and well-renowned man-management will make him successful in this role.”