Whilst football prepares for its close season, the managerial merry-go-round is certain to ensure there is no ceasing of off-the-pitch entertainment within the sport. A number of high-profile vacancies are yet to be filled, with clubs in three of England’s four league divisions in the hunt for a new boss.
Of course, the highest-profile post expected to be up for grabs this summer is that of Chelsea, and some firms are still betting on Rafa Benitez’ Stamford Bridge successor, despite Jose Mourinho appearing a nailed-on choice to return to the club at which he won two Premier League titles. Betfair punters can take a best-price 21/100 on the Real Madrid chief heading back to the Blues, with BetVictor the nearest competitors to that price at 1/6, and firms such as Stan James as short as 1/10. Though little value initially appears to stem from such odds, Mourinho’s frequent declarations of lust for a Chelsea return, along with Roman Abramovich’s desire to bury the hatchet with ‘The Special One’ make him seem a shoo-in for the vacancy, and big-stake punters can therefore profit from his Stamford Bridge return.
But those searching for increased value could be better served studying the ‘Next Everton Manager’ market, in which Roberto Martinez is a best-priced 2/1 favourite with Coral. Despite suffering relegation with Wigan this term, the Spaniard’s stock has never been higher, and in addition to performing top-flight miracles with the Latics on a shoestring budget for the past four years, he can now refer to an FA Cup success on his CV. The opportunity to manage a club the stature of Everton will surely prove too good to resist in light of Wigan’s drop to Championship level, and Celtic’s Neil Lennon, a top-price 8/1 with Stan James for the post, would appear his only real competitor. However, it is thought Martinez’ Premier League managerial experience makes him the Toffees board’s highly favoured candidate.
And lower down the leagues, Owen Coyle’s admission that he would like a crack at the helm of recently-relegated Wolves is noteworthy, especially in light of the hefty 13/2 quote provided by Bet365 about him claiming the Molineux vacancy. Coyle’s reputation has been only slightly tarnished by an indifferent spell in charge of Bolton, with whom he oversaw Premier League relegation, and he remains highly rated by respected figures within the game. Lauded for his motivational skills, the former Burnley manager, who counts Championship promotion amongst his managerial achievements, would appear a perfect fit for a League One outfit shot of confidence. Kenny Jackett, who recently quit Millwall, is rated as Coyle’s main rival for the role, with BetVictor offering 5/1 he takes the Old Gold reins. Meanwhile, SkyBet are as short as 2/1 regarding Jackett, and are also the shortest price regarding his successor at Millwall, offering 8/11 about hot favourite Marc Bircham. With his nearest competitors priced at 10/1 bar, BetVictor’s 2/1 regarding the QPR coach taking up his first managerial post at the Den appeals.
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