Potential managerial candidates: Rodgers, Knutsen, Maresca and More

It is to be expected when a big job like Celtic becomes available that the list of potential managerial candidates will be lengthy.  Some names on the list will be more realistic than others, some will fall into the fantasy category, and others like Des Buckingham – with the greatest of respect to Des – can be filed in the downright bizarre section.

At last count around 20 managers have been credited with a link to the job, with double that number appearing on most betting sites as potential candidates.

However, when checking on the latest odds of the supposed leading contenders for the job, there are several names that keep on appearing; Brendan Rodgers, Kjetil Knudsen, Enzo Maresca, and now Daniel Farke.

All options that have the ability to excite the Celtic support should they become Ange’s chosen successor.

Brendan Rodgers: A controversial choice

Rodgers, as we all know has a chequered history with Celtic and I am on record on ACSOM stating that I don’t want him within 100 miles of my club.  This may be a case of my heart ruling my head.

There is no denying that Rodgers is an outstanding manager and a leading candidate for the job.  His sides tend to play attractive, attacking football; more importantly, he knows how to win.  His appointment the first time around was a major coup for Celtic; I dare say, it would be the second time around if he does come back.

But therein lies the rub for me.  The manner in which he snuck out under the cover of darkness last time, and tried to take the entire backroom team with him on the eve of an away fixture at Tynecastle still rankles with me.  It was a move that had the potential to derail the season and put our 9-in-a-row bid in jeopardy.

My trust in Rodgers is gone and, it turns out, I don’t forgive and forget easily.

But then my head steps in and reminds me how good a coach he is and that it doesn’t matter who the next manager is, if they enjoy two successful seasons with us then others will sit up and take notice and try to lure them away.  Perhaps I should be more forgiving.

Kjetil Knudsen: Preferred successor

Knudsen is my first choice to replace Ange.  The Norwegian has worked wonders with Bodø/Glimt over the past couple of seasons, enough for clubs the size of Celtic and Ajax to sit up and take notice.  He also managed to get the better of Ange quite convincingly during the Aussie’s first season in charge.

His style of football is very similar to that of Ange and his appointment would bring a sense of continuity and commitment to taking Celtic’s development to the next level.  He also has a proven record of unearthing talented players for knockdown prices and coaching them to new levels.

However, the fact that he has not coached outside of Norway is a concern to some fans.  Personally, I don’t see that being an issue.  Bar a short stint in Greece, Ange hadn’t coached a club side in Europe before taking the Celtic job, and look how that worked out.

Enzo Maresca: From Guardiola’s backroom to Celtic

Maresca was interviewed for the job last time around before opting to take the reins at Parma on the same day that the Eddie Howe deal collapsed.  In a sliding doors moment, had Maresca held off on confirming with Parma for another 24 hours, he could very well have been fielding a call from Dermot Desmond to answer Celtic’s SOS.

The Italian’s spell at the Ennio Tardini was disappointing to say the least, winning only 4 out of 14 games before being relieved of his duties in November, just 6 months after starting the job.

As a coach, Maresca is extremely highly rated as part of Pep Guardiola’s backroom team at Manchester City.  During his time as coach of City’s Elite Development squad prior to getting the Parma job, Maresca was praised for his sides fluid formation changes and attacking outlook.

As an inexperienced manager, his appointment would be one from left field, but he does have a good grounding in coaching to suggest that under an experienced Director of Football, he could be a success.

Daniel Farke: Talks and possibilities

The former Norwich and Borussia Mönchengladbach coach is the latest name to be linked with the job and has apparently already held talks with Celtic over the vacancy.

Farke is currently a free agent– something that will no doubt appeal to the Celtic board – following his sacking by Mönchengladbach earlier this month.  In his solitary season with Die Fohlen, Farke led his side to a 10th placed finish, 7 points adrift of the European spots.

A proponent of the 4-2-3-1 formation, Farke would represent a switch in formation from the 4-3-3 we have become accustomed to in recent seasons.  However, his sides are known for their high tempo, attacking football with quick attacking transitions, a style that we can all get on board with.

With Leeds also reportedly sniffing around the German, Celtic may need to act fast if Farke is the one they want.

Of course, regardless of who the next manager is, be it Rodgers, Knutsen, Maresca, Farke or someone else altogether, they will get my support; Rodgers maybe a little more grudgingly than the others.

Kevin McCluskie

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