AFTER the sacking of Claudio Ranieri, rumours are rife as to the man who will replace him at Leicester – and Roberto Mancini has emerged as the early front runner.
Like Ranieri, fellow Italian Mancini has led a club to the Premier League title: Manchester City, of course. He too was unceremoniously dumped the season after lifting the crown.
The football family has gathered around Ranieri with shows of sympathy – and anger in some quarters – after he instigated Leicester’s greatest ever triumph just nine months ago.
But, with the shocking decision made, the club’s owners are now turning their attention to a successor and, needless to say, there are many names in the frame.
Sky Bet make Mancini odds-on favourite to land the job. He has a Premier League pedigree – and he did have a brief spell as a player at Leicester back in the day. Paddy Power have got him at 5/4.
The 52-year-old is available and therefore no compensation would be required. That could influence the money men at the top.
Same could be said of Nigel Pearson who comes in at odds ranging from 8/1 to 11/1. He led the Foxes to the Premier League and also instigated the Great Escape before he was also axed in 2015.
Might be a case of once bitten, twice shy for Pearson who was left with a bitter taste in his mouth about the way he was shown the door after doing so much for the club. Ranieri now knows that feeling.
Other names in the frame are Guus Hiddink, surprisingly, Frank de Boer, even more surprisingly, Alan Pardew (the former Palace boss is a 10/1 shot) and Gary Rowett.
And no great surprise that Martin O’Neill’s name has been thrown into the mix. He’s a club legend and might fancy a return but he seems happy enough to continue in his international role with the Republic of Ireland.
Either way, whoever comes in will have big boots to fill. Sadly, the boots of Ranieri are now made for walking. Good luck Claudio and thanks for the memories.