An updated look at the next Celtic manager market: Featuring Chris Wilder, Enzo Maresca, Jesse Marsch, Rafa Benitez and more

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 24 March 2021, 15:29

It’s already been a month since Neil Lennon’s second spell at Celtic came to an end, since then we’ve seen just about every unemployed manager linked to the post, plus a few contracted bosses too.

There have been high-profile names in the frame and managers you’ve had to Google in what is proving to be an intriguing next Celtic manager market, and one in which we’ve revisited below...

Who is the favourite?

At the time of writing, Enzo Maresca is the narrow frontrunner with bookmakers ahead of interim boss John Kennedy.

Since Lennon’s exit, Maresca has been consistently linked with a move to the Hoops.

The Italian, a former No.2 to Manuel Pellegrini, has spent the last seven months in charge of Man City’s Development Squad; a side that are currently five points clear at the top of the Premier League 2 Division One table.

City’s young guns have thrived under Maresca’s tutorship, accumulating 12 wins and 62 goals in 19 league games to date. They are currently unbeaten in 13 matches during which they’ve smashed home seven goals on two occasions, which includes a 7-2 win against Liverpool. 

For the moment Maresca is focused on delivering silverware to Man City U23s, but the summer would be a different story. The chance to venture out in his own right at a massive club with a passionate fan base will be of huge appeal.

There are of course questions over his outright managerial experience at senior level, for which he has none, but his creditable work with Man City’s youngsters - many of whom now feature in the England youth teams - coupled with his coaching resume at West Ham and Sevilla means he could prove to be an exciting option.

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There's sure to be a scramble for Chris Wilder's signature

Chris Wilder is free

Chris Wilder’s odds for the Celtic job were instantly and inevitably slashed once his departure from Sheffield United was officially confirmed earlier this month.

Wilder, who was odds-on but is currently a best-priced 12/1 (Bet Victor), boasts an impressive CV which has taken him from non-league to the Premier League. Along the way he accumulated promotions with Oxford, Northampton, and Sheffield United; elevating the latter from League One to a top-half Premier League finish - for more information check out our interview with him below.

There’s likely to be a scramble for his signature this summer - there could soon be jobs opening up at Crystal Palace and Newcastle, while West Brom and Bournemouth may be interested too - so if Celtic are keen they may need to show their intent soon.

With Celtic set to embark on a sizeable structural overhaul this summer, many would like to see Wilder come in and lead the revolution.

What about John Kennedy?

No one in the running knows Celtic quite like John Kennedy. Not only did he play for the club, but he’s been a scout, coached the youth team and the first team, worked as an assistant manager and now he’s in charge, albeit on an interim basis.

So far he’s overseen three games, a win over Aberdeen and draws against Dundee United and Rangers, with the points shared with the champions in last weekend’s Old Firm. He’s likely to continue until the end of the season and while there’s only pride to play for in the league, he does have the chance to win Celtic the FA Cup.

Unlikely to be the glamour name with many fans keen for a fresh high-profile face to come in given the wounds inflicted during the current campaign, but if asked to step into the position on a full-time basis then Kennedy will take it in a flash.

While there’s every reason to believe he’ll still be at the club next season, it’s difficult to envision that being as manager.

Jesse Marsch has made some interesting comments

Jesse Marsch has electrified RB Salzburg since his appointment in 2019. A former MLS Coach of the Year with the New York Red Bulls, Marsh traded the States for Austria and won the league and cup double in his first season in charge, and nearly stunned Liverpool at Anfield in the Champions League (they lost 4-3 after trailing 3-0).

Marsch, who is set to retain both trophies, employs an exciting, energetic, free-scoring and high-pressing style of football which is sure to appeal to Celtic fans. He’s also managed a number of exciting young talents, including Erling Haaland, Takumi Minamino, Patson Daka, and Sekou Koita.

More pertinently are the comments he made about the Celtic job last week.

"I've heard [about the links],” he told BBC Sport. “It's an honour for me. Three or four years ago, being linked with a club like Celtic would literally be an impossibility for me. And now that this is where I am, I always just try to look at it in terms of, 'what would the project look like?'

"Would we have similar ideas in how to build it the right way, invest in the academy, invest in young players and create this development process that I'm talking about? And not just focus on winning. Obviously I know that when you're the coach of Celtic, winning is the most important thing.

"I know enough about it to say of course it's interesting. It's an amazing club and it would be an honour to even be considered. But I also have a job to do here.

"My way of working is really to focus in on the job that I'm doing and concentrate on the moment. And the more that I do that the more other possibilities can arise."

Journalist Christian Falk then appeared to burst the bubble, but at 25/1 (Bet Victor) he still remains a tempting price to swap jobs this summer.

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Rafa Benitez to Celtic now appears to be off

Rafa Benitez dream over?

"The priority is England. Why? Because obviously I like the Premier League and my family is here. I have a lot [of offers] from the Emirates, United States, Brazil, China, but I want to stay in Europe. And I want to stay in England."

These words were directly from the mouth of Rafa Benitez who in an interview with The Times seems to have poured water on a potential move north of the border.

"If it’s the right one, we can do it tomorrow but the project, the competitive team, is not there at the moment so we have to wait,” he continued. "But I don’t want to stay without working."

The former favourite is now out at 25/1 in a move that appears increasingly unlikely.

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Frank Lampard is a 33/1 long shot

And the rest?

Ex-Celtic boss Martin O’Neill has ruled himself out and while he may be right up there in the betting a move for former player Roy Keane (6/1) has not managed for a decade. Despite the odd comment here and there he's made about a return to the dugout, in truth there are other more high-calibre managers out there. 

Former Man Utd assistant and Real Madrid boss Carlos Queiroz, who left his post at Colombia in December, has recently been cut from 33/1 to 9/1, whereas Alex Neil can now be found at 16/1 after leaving Preston at the weekend.

It’s all gone quiet on the Eddie Howe (16/1) front - although this doesn’t mean he’s no longer in contention - while if Celtic want Scotland’s Steve Clarke (25/1) they’ll have to wait until after the Euros.

Further afield you’ll find Thierry Henry and Frank Lampard at 33/1, the same price as the impressive Slavia Prague manager Jindrich Trpisovsky, while Valerien Ismael is available at 66/1 having so far done a superb job at Barnsley who are in contention to win promotion to the Premier League.

Scroll down for full odds...

Next Celtic Manager Odds

Eddie Howe

Previous Team: Bournemouth


John Kennedy

Current Team: Celtic


Carlos Queiroz

Previous Team: Colombia


Enzo Maresca

Previous Team: None


Roy Keane

Previous Team: Ipswich Town


Chris Wilder

Previous Team: Sheffield United


Steve Clarke

Current Team: Scotland


Lucien Favre

Previous Team: Borussia Dortmund


Frank Lampard

Previous Team: Chelsea


Alex Neil

Previous Team: Preston North End


Phillip Cocu

Previous Team: Derby County


Jindrich Trpisovsky

Current Team: Slavia Praha


Michael O'Neill

Current Team: Stoke City


Martin O'Neill

Previous Team: Nottingham Forest


Jesse Marsch

Current Team: Red Bull Salzburg


Rafael Benitez

Previous Team: Dalian Yifang


Roberto Martinez

Current Team: Belgium


Domenec Torrent

Previous Team: Flamengo


Leonardo Jardim

Previous Team: Monaco


Robbie Keane

Previous Team: None


Malky Mackay

Previous Team: Wigan Athletic


Jim McInally

Current Team: Peterhead


Gerardo Seoane

Previous Team: None


Sean Dyche

Current Team: Burnley


Diego Martinez

Current Team: Granada


Jack Ross

Current Team: Hibernian


Rogerio Ceni

Current Team: Flamengo


Damien Duff

Previous Team: None


Joachim Low

Current Team: Germany


Veljko Paunovic

Current Team: Reading


Ralf Rangnick

Previous Team: Leipzig


Wayne Rooney

Current Team: Derby County


Andriy Shevchenko

Current Team: Ukraine


Andre Villas Boas

Previous Team: Marseille


Thierry Henry

Previous Team: Montreal Impact


Shaun Maloney

Previous Team: None


Derek McInnes

Previous Team: Aberdeen


Julien Stephan

Previous Team: Rennes


Paul Lambert

Previous Team: Ipswich Town


Henrik Larsson

Previous Team: Helsingborg


Marco Silva

Previous Team: Everton


Slaven Bilic

Current Team: Beijing Guoan


Scott Brown

Previous Team: None


Nicky Butt

Previous Team: None


John Collins

Previous Team: Charleroi


Darren Fletcher

Previous Team: None


Mark Hughes

Previous Team: Southampton


Steve McClaren

Previous Team: Queens Park Rangers


Dan Petrescu

Previous Team: CFR Cluj


Stiliyan Petrov

Previous Team: None


Sergei Rebrov

Current Team: Ferencvaros


Erik Ten Hag

Current Team: Ajax


Arsene Wenger

Previous Team: Arsenal


Gianfranco Zola

Previous Team: Birmingham City


Gary Holt

Previous Team: Livingston


Jose Mourinho

Previous Team: Tottenham Hotspur


David Moyes

Current Team: West Ham United


Gordon Strachan

Previous Team: Scotland


Paolo Di Canio

Previous Team: Sunderland


Ralph Hasenhuttl

Current Team: Southampton


Valerien Ismael

Current Team: Barnsley


Mick McCarthy

Current Team: Cardiff City


Johan Mjallby

Previous Team: Gefle


Tony Mowbray

Current Team: Blackburn Rovers


John Terry

Previous Team: None


Patrick Vieira

Previous Team: Nice


Mauricio Pochettino

Current Team: Paris St Germain


Sam Allardyce

Current Team: West Bromwich Albion


Craig Burley

Previous Team: None


Kenny Dalglish

Previous Team: Liverpool


John Hartson

Previous Team: None


Alan Pardew

Previous Team: ADO Den Haag


Chris Sutton

Previous Team: Lincoln City


Brendan Rodgers

Current Team: Leicester City


Ronny Deila

Current Team: New York City


Ally McCoist

Previous Team: Rangers


Odds Correct as of 2021-04-20 14:15:08
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