If you’re a manager out of work and looking to get back in the game – the Premier League is the place to be right now. There are four vacant hotseats up for grabs after Carlo Ancelotti threw a spanner into the works by walking out on Everton.
The Italian’s resignation to re-join Real Madrid seemingly came out of nowhere and the scramble for clubs to find a new manager before the new season has only intensified now.
The Toffees join Tottenham, Crystal Palace and Wolves in the hunt for a new coach with just over two months until the 2021-22 campaign kicks off – and there is every possibility some of those clubs will be scrapping over the same boss.
But it won’t just be unattached managers these clubs will be looking at – we could be looking at even more vacant posts should one of them end up pinching someone from their top flight rivals.
So, what can we expect from the managerial merry-go-round and how long will it swing for? Sportsmail takes a look at the likely candidates for each role.
Mauricio Pochettino (L) and Eddie Howe could both find themselves back in the Premier League with four hotseats up for grabs
We’ll start with the club in the headlines – the Toffees are at sixes and sevens after Ancelotti pulled a fast one on them by giving in to the temptation of Real Madrid.
It’s hard to blame anyone for accepting an offer from one of the biggest clubs in the world – even if Ancelotti has already taken up the job previously – but there will still be some resentment towards him after abandoning the project at Goodison Park.
It’s now action stations for majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri and the Everton board, who are racing to find a suitable replacement. The current favourite with the bookies is Nuno Espirito Santo, who is a free agent after leaving Wolves at the end of last season.
Nuno Espirito Santo is favourite for the Everton job despite holding talks with Crystal Palace
Eddie Howe has also been sounded out at Goodison Park after talks with Celtic broke down
EVERTON’S NEXT MANAGER ODDS
Nuno Espirito Santo 2/1
Eddie Howe 3/1
Rafa Benitez 6/1
David Moyes 6/1
Frank Lampard 9/1
Odds courtesy of Betfair
Santo – the 2/1 favourite for the job with BetFair – has impressed after taking Wolves from the Championship to the Europa League, playing an attractive and expansive brand of football along the way – he could fit the bill for Everton in their plans of breaking into the elite.
Momentum is not with the Portuguese boss, however, after his side underwhelmed for much of the campaign and finished a lowly 12th. However, he would be given a new-found spark in Merseyside with the chance to reinvigorate himself.
Sportsmail understands Santo has been in talks with Crystal Palace, so they might have a battle on their hands to convince him, despite Everton being a bigger club with a bigger financial backing. Another option is Eddie Howe, still available a year after leaving Bournemouth having walked away from talks with Celtic.
The 43-year-old, rated at 3/1 to join Everton, racked up quite the CV when he completed Bournemouth’s fairytale journey from League 2 to Premier League, then cemented their position in the top flight for five years.
Relegation with the Cherries in the 2019-20 saw his stock drop slightly, but he worked wonders at the Vitality with a limited budget – with the backing of ambitious Moshiri he could forge something very special indeed.
Could ex-Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez make a shock return to Merseyside with Everton?
Rafa Benitez may have history with their bitter rivals Liverpool, but the Spaniard is ready for a Premier League return and has been mooted as a possible contender at 6/1 after leaving Chinese Super League side Dalian Professional.
His former Reds player Jamie Carragher, who began his career at Everton, tipped him to move to Goodison Park and called him an ‘obvious candidate’ even if it would be one of the more shocking appointments on Merseyside.
And how about this for an outside bet, a stunning return for David Moyes, eight years after his farewell.
The West Ham boss has just hauled the Hammers into the Europa League after a superb campaign, and you could argue that leaving for Everton would be a step back – even if it would be a dream for football’s romantics.
An attractive proposition for a manager alongside Everton, but finding a man up for the task appears something of a challenge for Spurs chiefs – with plenty of uncertainty in north London at present.
Will the new man in charge have Harry Kane at his disposal? That would be the biggest question for any coach, because without the England captain the job becomes a lot harder and less alluring.
Kane, linked with a £150million move to Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea, has made it clear he wants to leave this summer no matter who takes over, but as it stands – a return for Mauricio Pochettino still looks most likely. He is the top contender at 6/5.
Mauricio Pochettino wants to return to Spurs and is in talks after growing frustrated at PSG
TOTTENHAM’S NEXT MANAGER ODDS
Mauricio Pochettino 6/5
Erik ten Hag 6/1
Graham Potter 6/1
Antonio Conte 6/1
Roberto Martinez 9/1
Sportsmail understands the Argentine wants to return to north London after growing frustrated with life in Paris due to issues behind the scenes, but PSG want him to stay and have complicated matters by triggering an extension in his deal.
The Parisiens will now be entitled to more compensation should he decide to walk. Real Madrid already felt he was ‘impossible’ to get after viewing him as a possible successor to Zinedine Zidane and went for Ancelotti.
Pochettino – who was sacked in November 2019 – knows the players, squad and club and it would be a simple ‘as you were’ should he complete his homecoming – a move that would be a hit with fans after forging a special relationship with them during his five-and-a-half years.
Spurs fans are keen to return to an attacking brand of football after the dire displays under Jose Mourinho, and Ajax boss Erik ten Haag and his brand of total football would certainly offer that.
Would Graham Potter’s expansive football please Spurs fans after his success with Brighton?
He appeared to give the thumbs down to a possible Spurs switch when he signed a new deal with the club in April – but has still been backed by the bookies at 6/1.
Brighton boss Graham Potter would also tick that box, with his side known for having one of the highest xG in the Premier League, and with a better strike force at Spurs his tactics could be a real success. He is also rated at 6/1, although some supporters may have concerns about his top level experience and lack of personality.
Levy also might be considering Antonio Conte, who has just left Inter Milan after becoming frustrated with their financial problems.
Antonio Conte is available after leaving Inter and, despite his Chelsea past, is a proven winner
With the Real Madrid job now occupied, there are not many top level jobs for Conte to take, and despite his past with rivals Chelsea – the Italian could be the man to finally bring silverware to north London. He has won a trophy in five of his last seven seasons and delivered the Serie A title to the San Siro after a nine year absence.
Meanwhile, Belgium boss Roberto Martinez has reportedly been in talks with Daniel Levy over the role, but that might be one to keep an eye on ahead of Euro 2020.
As reported by Sportsmail, Palace have been in talks with Nuno Espirito Santo for three days after Roy Hodgson left Selhurst Park at the end of last season – with the club looking to head into a new era.
He is the strong favourite for the role, and backed at 6/5, but the Eagles know they will have a fight on their hands after Everton’s position became vacant – with the allure of the Toffees sure to sway the Portuguese coach.
Club chief Steve Parish is said to be looking to make a swift appointment to ensure the squad are ready to go for next season and they won’t want to be waiting around forever if Santo decides to hedge his bets.
Crystal Palace are in talks to replace Roy Hodgson (left) with Nuno Espirito Santo
Burnley boss Sean Dyche also has admirers if they fail in their attempts to land the Portuguese
CRYSTAL PALACE NEXT MANAGER ODDS
Nuno Espirito Santo 6/5
Eddie Howe 6/4
Sean Dyche 5/1
Steve Cooper 6/1
Frank Lampard 10/1
Like Everton, Palace are also interested in Eddie Howe – so whoever apppoints a new boss first between the clubs could have a huge impact one the kind of boss Palace can attract. The former Cherries boss is second favourite at 6/4.
Also on Palace’s shortlist are Burnley boss Sean Dyche and Swansea coach Steve Cooper, rated at 5/1 and 6/1 respectively.
Dyche has constantly kept the Clarets above water despite having very little funds to play with and has had admirers from across the division, while Cooper has impressed at the Liberty but saw his side defeated in the play-off final vs Brentford.
An alternative for the south Londoners is Frank Lampard – wounded and ready to show he has what it takes to thrive in the top flight after his sacking by Chelsea in January.
The Blues legend impressed at Derby before being thrown into the daunting hotseat at Stamford Bridge, but walked away with credit after stabilising the team and bringing through the likes of Mason Mount and Reece James.
Lampard will be keen to make sure his next job is the right one as he bids to get his career back on track. He is currently an outside bet at 10/1.
Frank Lampard is an option for the Eagles as he looks to rebuild after being sacked by Chelsea
The situation at Molineux is slightly more straightforward. Former Benfica boss Bruno Lage has been installed as the favourite to take the reins from Espirito Santo and has been in discussions with Wolves chiefs over the last week.
But the Portuguese coach is awaiting news about whether he has been granted a work permit ahead of a hearing on Wednesday.
Lage – a client of agent Jorge Mendes, who has worked closely with Wolves, is the club’s first choice and the favourite at 1/9, although they have been considering other candidates and will have contingencies in the event that he is denied the work permit.
Bruno Lage will discover this week if he will be granted a work permit to become Wolves boss
Lampard is another option for Wolves, with the young coach rated at 6/1.
He has a handful of different positions to consider but with the Midlands outfit ambitious and well backed by Chinese owners Fosun International, he would be given all the tools to pick up where Santo left off, and perhaps even better his achievements.
Further down the list is another Portuguese coach in Vitor Pereira at 10/1. The 52-year-old, who was linked with the Everton job after Marco Silva was sacked in 2019, has managed Olympiakos, Fenerbahce and Shanghai SIPG.
The outsiders for the role are former Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez and ex-Spurs and Chelsea coach Andre Villas-Boas – who is available after quitting Ligue 1 side Marseille following a spat with the club about transfers.
WOLVES NEXT MANAGER ODDS
Bruno Lage 1/9
Frank Lampard 6/1
Vitor Pereira 10/1
Rafa Benitez 11/1
Andre Villas-Boas 11/1