After dismissing Claude Puel on Sunday, Leicester City are now searching for a new manager mid-season for the third campaign in a row. The Foxes’ ownership had little choice but to move on from Puel, whose side had failed to win a game since New Year’s Day.
The Leicester manager job will be intriguing to many. With a handful of young players playing regularly and a new £100million training complex on the way, there is much for a new manager to be excited by.
Who Will Replace Claude Puel at Leicester City?
The early favourite with both bookmakers and Leicester fans is Brendan Rodgers. The Celtic manager has restored his reputation with the Scottish giants and is on course to win a third successive domestic treble. Given that he is close to further silverware, Rodgers is unlikely to leave mid-season. However, Leicester are willing to wait until the season ends for Rodgers to take over. This would likely leave current caretaker manager Mike Stowell in charge for the remainder of the season. Rodgers spoke of his commitment to Celtic after Sunday’s victory over Motherwell but has previously spoken of a desire to return to English football. Rodgers would be a natural fit for Leicester. Like Puel, he favours a possession-based style. Importantly, his charismatic and passionate approach would be a direct contrast to Puel, something which would get a disillusioned fan base back on board.
The other early front runner is Newcastle United’s Rafael Benitez. Like Rodgers, Benitez would be unlikely to leave mid-season. However, his contract expires this summer and his future at Newcastle remains uncertain. Despite being popular with the club’s supporters and achieving beyond the club’s means, he endures a difficult relationship with the club’s ownership. Benitez has reportedly expressed a desire to remain with Newcastle, but only if his vision for the club is matched by owner Mike Ashley. This is not a problem he would face at Leicester, who have consistently backed their manager.
Other Likely Targets
Ex-Huddersfield Town boss David Wagner is another name being linked with the post. Wagner drew significant plaudits for his over-achievement on a shoestring budget with Huddersfield. Wagner departed the Terriers in January due to a need for time away from football. Whether Wagner is ready to return to management after a short period away could be the biggest stumbling block to an appointment. His high-intensity, pressing style can be compared to that which Leicester thrived off under Claudio Ranieri. Whilst many of those players have moved on, the pieces are in place for Wagner to succeed.
Another name to watch could be Julen Lopetegui. The Spaniard has suffered an enormous fall from grace in the last twelve months. This time last year he was preparing to lead Spain to the World Cup. Since then, he has been dismissed by both Spain and Real Madrid. Whilst the Madrid job was too big a challenge for Lopetegui, he has a proven record of succeeding with young players, having won the European U19 and U21 Championship with Spain.
An Outside Chance
Lille manager Christophe Galtier is one of Europe’s most highly regarded managers at present. His work this season has seen Lille fly from a seventeenth-place finish last season to second. His attacking approach has seen his side score fewer goals than only Paris Saint-Germain. Should Leicester be able to lure him to the King Power Stadium he could be a shrewd appointment.
Within the Football League, Garry Monk has impressed since returning to management with Birmingham City. Having previously seen some Premier League success with Swansea City, Monk is more of a known quantity than some options. Unlikely to be first choice, Monk could be considered should other targets turn the job down.