What does the future hold for Claude Puel, Slaven Bilic and Walter Mazzarri?by Jack Kitson / 04 May 2017, 14:35Tweet
Everything points to yet another huge summer in the chaotic manager merry-go-round as a hat-trick of Premier League clubs - Southampton, West Ham and Watford - all ponder a change in the dugout.
Below we take a look at their three gaffers and the possibility of each leaving their respective posts come the end of the season.
Claude Puel (Southampton)
Could Southampton soon be searching for their fifth manager since returning to the Premier League in 2012?
If this weeks rumour mill is to be believed then yes, this could well be the case.
The Saints harshly sacked Nigel Adkins half-way through their return to the Premier League, but were then unable to keep hold of their subsequent following two bosses, Maurcio Pochettino and Ronald Koeman, who were lured over to Tottenham and Everton respectively.
In came Puel last summer. The Frenchman proceeded to lead the Saints to a famous victory over Inter Milan, and a League Cup final at Wembley, while they’re set to record a fourth consecutive top-10 Premier League finish for the first time in their history.
It’s also worth noting that Puel has also had to deal with big injuries to star players such as Virgil van Dijik, Charlie Austin and Manolo Gabbiadini, which have been huge losses.
However, many fans (and reportedly players) are frustrated with Puel’s style of play. The Saints have been frustratingly negative and desperately drab on a number of occasions this term, notably lacking a cutting edge in attack - failing to find the back of the net in a whopping 15 of their league and cup matches.
Puel was booed down the tunnel after Southampton’s insipid display against Hull, and while the club are currently 9th, there’s only three points between themselves and Crystal Palace in 16th, meaning a low league standing is by no means out of the question.
A few days after the Hull draw bookmakers Paddy Power opened up the Next Southampton Manager Market, which features the likes of Hull boss Marco Silva (the club’s reported number one target), PSG’s Unai Emery and Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers, while other potential candidates include Roberto Mancini, Slavisa Jokanovic and Carlos Carvalhal.
In truth, while Puel’s future is up in the air, the Saints are likely to keep the faith, although if Silva shows some interest their loyalty will be tested.
The top 3 contenders for the Southampton job have 3 league titles, 4 domestic cups & 3 Europa Leagues.— Jack Kitson (@jack_kitson) May 4, 2017
Not bad. pic.twitter.com/CloMDPn6VC
Slaven Bilic (West Ham)
Slaven Bilic has had to fend of questions concerning his future at West Ham all season, with the Croatian seemingly paying the price for enjoying such an impressive debut campaign in which the Hammers finished 7th.
West Ham will review Bilic’s position in the summer following what has undoubtedly been a below-par season, which could actually end in relegation, although this scenario is extremely unlikely: 80/1 (Betfair).
Bilic has one year left to run on his three-year deal, and should he see out the remaining three games this season he’d become only the third West Ham boss since Harry Redknapp to complete two full seasons in the dugout (the others being Sam Allardyce and Alan Pardew).
Critics of Bilic have pointed to his poor signings, the club’s short-lived run in Europe, their struggles at the London Stadium, plus a failure to raise their game against the big clubs, having failed to beat any team in the current top-8 so far this term.
The Next West Ham Manager Market has been open for some time with the likes of Roberto Mancini, Slavisa Jokanovic, David Wagner and Eddie Howe linked with the post, while Lazio boss Simone Inzaghi is a surprise new addition at the top of the betting.
However, a decent points return from their final three games against Tottenham, Liverpool and Burnley should see Bilic keep his job…
Walter Mazzarri (Watford)
The Next Watford Manager Market catapulted into existence on Wednesday with a certain Premier League title winning manager, in Claudio Ranieri, leading the way at the summit, with former Hornets boss Slavisa Jokanovic, Nigel Pearson and Alan Pardew in hot pursuit.
Watford have been accustomed to a changing managers in recent years. In fact, not a single one of the club’s last 10 gaffers has reached the 100 game landmark, while only Malky Mackay and Gianfranco Zola have ventured over 50 games in the dugout.
Jokanovic left the club after just eight months, despite leading them up to promotion, while Quique Flores departed after a single season, even though he kept them in the top-flight (they finished only five points behind Chelsea).
Now the current incumbent, Walter Mazzari, could be the latest boss to leave Vicarage Road.
As it stands Watford are 13th in the table. They should be safe from relegation, while they’re only one point off 9th spot with three games to go.
However, Mazzarri’s future is very much in the air. The Mirror is reporting that the Italian’s job is hanging in the balance, while the Evening Standard says he’s planning on taking an extensive course to improve his English…
Simply put, no one knows if he’s staying or going.