There’s still no word on whether the Premier League’s oldest ever manager, Roy Hodgson, will be offered a new deal at Crystal Palace.
The 73-year-old’s current deal expires at the end of the season and there are rumours that it won’t be renewed.
The next Crystal Palace market has subsequently opened up and it features a host of interesting candidates, four of which we’ve hand-picked below...
The Favourite: Frank Lampard
Odds-on at the time of writing, Frank Lampard (4/11, Paddy Power) to Crystal Palace could prove to be an attractive proposition for both club and manager.
Lampard will be hungry to bounce back following a frustrating end to his Chelsea tenure. Despite suffering the sack he can take numerous positives from his 18-month spell; in which he developed young talents, secured a top-four finish, and managed in an FA Cup final. On a more personal level, Lampard and his wife Christine have just welcomed another baby so staying in London would be ideal.
Palace will get a manager who has worked in a high-pressure environment, knows the Premier League, and plays an attractive style of football. The latter is most welcome at Selhurst Park given that Palace have scored just 33 goals this season, while they are ranked bottom of the pile for shots (264) and through balls (six).
Lampard will look to bring the excitement back, enhance the creativity levels, up the goal count, and get the best out of the club’s exciting young players - Palace’s academy recently achieved Category 1 status.
His work with Blues star Mason Mount will be of huge encouragement to Eberechi Eze, while an appointment could be key in persuading Wilfried Zaha to stay.
Furthermore, Lampard can utilise his Chelsea contacts book and lure players over to Selhurst Park: out-of-favour Blues striker Tammy Abraham could be an option. Lampard would likely bring in his high-rated assistant too, Jody Morris, who is an excellent coach.
Frank Lampard is the favourite to replace Roy Hodgson, should the veteran boss leave Crystal Palace
The Serial Contender: Eddie Howe
After a year out, Eddie Howe will be eyeing up a summer return to management.
It’s become abundantly clear that Howe wants another Premier League job. He could quite easily have bagged a Championship post should he have wanted to, while Celtic don’t appear to be top of his wish list. England U21s could be an option, but an opening at top-flight Palace will certainly take his fancy (6/1).
The relegation on Howe’s CV will draw negative comments from some, yet you simply can’t overlook the sensational work he did across two spells at Bournemouth, whom he took from League two to the Premier League; where they spent five seasons.
Howe is intelligent, meticulous, and hands-on. He looks to employ an exciting and high-tempo brand of football; his old Bournemouth side always looked to entertain and score goals.
The 43-year-old would release the shackles and add an injection of impetus to the Eagles, who despite the odd positive result have endured an inconsistent season.
Similarly to Lampard, Howe has a history of developing young players and he too could target his former club Bournemouth for their talents, such as David Brooks and Arnaut Danjuma Groeneveld.
Eddie Howe would surely attract interest
The Rising Star: Valerien Ismael
It’s fair to say that the last time Crystal Palace attempted to drastically alter their playing style, it didn’t quite go to plan. Fans will need no reminding that Frank de Boer was sacked after all of five matches.
However, you’re not going to find many Palace supporters who would say no to the philosophy of Valerien Ismael: high-press, high-intensity, and very effective football.
Many of the Eagles faithful will already be familiar with Ismael ‘the player’, who made 13 appearances for the Eagles in 1998, and now Ismael ‘the manager’ is making waves in England.
The Barnsley boss has made a simply stunning impact since he replaced Gerhard Struber in October. When he arrived the Tykes were 21st in the Championship, having failed to win any of their opening six games. Fast-forward to April and they have rocketed up the league into 6th, with a play-off place secured - this was achieved on a bottom-four budget, with the club priced at 500/1 (according to Sporting Life) to make the top-six at the time of his appointment.
The popular Frenchman recently oversaw six successive away games for the first time in Barnsley’s history, and should he claim a promotion it would represent one of the stand-out managerial achievements of the current campaign.
Valerien Ismael has made a stunning impact at Barnsley
It’s not only the transformation in form and results that have caught the eye, but Ismael’s high-pressing style of play. “It’s really intense, for sure,” the ambitious manager told The Athletic. “I demand a lot but the players know that if we invest our time and work together as a swarm on the pitch, we get results. We have a work ethic. You have to be able to count on your team-mates. If not, we’re in trouble.”
At 25/1 he looks like a juicy outside bet, although Barnsley will do everything within their power to keep him at Oakwell.
Could Sean Dyche fancy a new challenge?
The Experienced Head: Sean Dyche
Sean Dyche (5/1) to Crystal Palace has featured in the rumour mill for some time.
As has been the case for years, on a limited budget Dyche continues to squeeze every ounce of talent out of his Burnley side, whose stunning 4-0 win at Wolves looks to have pretty much secured the Clarets another season of Premier League football.
During his time in charge Dyche has twice led Burnley into the top-flight, conjured up a superb 7th place finish, journeyed through Europe, and even had a local pub named after him.
His style of play is often direct and pragmatic. He’s created a tight-knit group with the focus very much on the collective, all the players buy into his methods and put their bodies on the line for their manager.
Yet it would be interesting to see how Dyche would approach a new job in a different environment with different players, especially with creative talents such as Zaha and Eze in Palace’s ranks.
Dyche, whose contract expires in 2022, has previously aired his Burnley frustrations - although with new owners now at the helm he may be more tempted to stay - and could see the Palace job as a tempting new challenge following a successful nine seasons in Lancashire.
Roma manager Paulo Fonseca (40/1) has been loosely linked. He’s currently bidding to lead his side to Europa League glory, but could leave in the summer when his contract expires. Patrick Vieira (15/2) is also believed to be on Palace’s radar.
Chris Wilder (12/1) is available for hire having left Sheffield United, as is Jose Mourinho following his Tottenham exit, although the latter is a 33/1 long shot to return to London.
John Terry is priced at 12/1 to start his managerial career at Palace, Scott Parker is available at 20/1, Rafa Benitez is a 33/1 outsider, whereas Rennes former Coupe de France winning boss Julien Stephan (35/1) could be an option.
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