Watford have rejected an approach from Everton for their highly-rated Portuguese manager Marco Silva.
Silva, 40, has only been in charge for 11 Premier League games at Vicarage Road after leaving Hull City following their relegation last season.
Everton had made him their prime target to succeed the sacked Ronald Koeman, but the Hornets are determined to reject any attempts to lure Silva away.
It now remains to be seen whether the Toffees intensify their interest.
Everton under-23 coach David Unsworth is currently in caretaker charge after Koeman was sacked less than 24 hours after the 5-2 home defeat by Arsenal on 22 October.
Unsworth has won only one of his four games in charge, ironically a 3-2 victory against Silva’s Watford after coming from two goals down.
Former England manager Sam Allardyce has been linked with the Everton job on a short-term basis, while Burnley’s Sean Dyche is another name that has been touted as taking over at Goodison Park.
Silva, however, has now moved to the top of Everton’s list to take over permanently from Koeman.