Leonid Slutsky in the running to replace Walter Mazzarri at Watford

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 18 May 2017, 12:15

Watford's search for a new manager has taken a surprise twist with Leonid Slutsky the favourite to replace Walter Mazzarri, who is leaving the club after Sunday's televised clash with Man City.

When the Hornets announced the news on Wednesday it was the likes of Hull boss Marco Silva and former Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri who emerged as the early frontrunners for the post in the Next Watford Manager Market.

However, supporters were then shocked to see Slutsky storm into the frame in the evening, with one bookmaker shortening his odds from 14/1 to just evens, while he's today (Thursday) hovering around the 2/1 mark alongside Ranieri, while Silva is hot on their heels at 3/1.

Other contenders include former Inter boss Frank de Boer, who earlier this season lost his job after just 85 days, along with ex Swansea gaffer Francesco Guidolin, the unemployed Alan Pardew, and former Watford boss Slavis Jokanovic, who led the club up to the Premier League two years ago.

Slutsky, who has never managed outside of Russia, is certainly an intriguing option for Watford who have steamed through a whopping eight managers in six years. The Russian has an impressive 50.67% win percentage from four stints in the dugout, having bagged over 227 wins from 448 games in charge of Russia, CSKA Moscow, Krylia Sovetov and FC Moscow.

Managerial highlights include hoisting three Russian league titles, two Russian Cups and two Super Cups with CSKA Moscow with whom the 46-year-old managed between 2009 and 2016.

Slutsky has since been working in England as an adviser to friend Roman Abramovich, and in a recent interview with Sky Sports he spoke of his desire to work in the Premier League or the Championship, as he bids to become the first Russian to manage on these shores.

Six of the last seven watford bossess have been foreign, while the other, Billy McKinlay, is Scottish and only lasted two games in the dugout. This hints that Pozzo are likely to look outside of Britain who their next boss, and early reports suggest that Slutsky is on their radar.

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