Everton made a poor start to the season under Ronald Koeman despite spending £140 million in the close season. Photo: Peter Powell/EPA

LONDON – Ronald Koeman became the third Premier League managerial casualty of the season on Monday when he was sacked by Everton.

The 54-year-old Dutchman – who guided Everton to seventh in his first season in charge last term – paid the price for a desperate start to the season, despite having spent £140million in the close season.

The last straw was the 5-2 defeat at the hands of Arsenal at Goodison Park at the weekend.

“Everton Football Club can confirm that Ronald Koeman has left the Club,” read the club statement.

“Chairman Bill Kenwright, the board of directors and the majority shareholder Farhard Moshiri would all like to express their gratitude to Ronald for the service he has given to the club over the past 16 months, and for guiding the club to seventh place in last season’s Premier League campaign.”

Koeman, who arrived at Goodison Park after a successful spell in charge of Southampton, splashed the money on the likes of Icelandic international Gylfi Sigurdsson in the summer.

Sigurdsson is yet to display the sort of form that got Koeman to convince the board to pay out a club-record £45million to prise him away form Swansea.

Others such as Dutchman Davy Klaassen – who cost £23.6million from Ajax – have also disappointed with Koeman taking him off at halftime of their Europa League defeat by Lyon last Thursday.

However, despite also persuading former golden boy Wayne Rooney to return from Manchester United, he crucially failed to replace record goal-scorer Romelu Lukaku, with Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud declining the chance to join them.

The early favourite to replace Koeman is former Everton manager David Moyes, who has tasted little success since he departed the Merseyside club in 2013.

Others in the frame include David Unsworth, who has impressed as Everton’s Under-23 coach – though he may be more of a short-term option while they look for a permanent replacement – Burnley’s Sean Dyche, as well as former Real Madrid and Chelsea handler Carlo Ancelotti.

Koeman joins compatriot Frank de Boer – sacked by Crystal Palace after just four Premier League games – and Craig Shakespeare dismissed by Leicester last week as top-level managers to have departed this season.