Next Watford Manager Latest: Five contenders assessed, from Gerhard Struber to John Terry

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 03 August 2020, 14:32

Two weeks have now flown by since Watford made the surprise decision to sack Nigel Pearson just two games before the conclusion of the longest Premier League season on record.

Given that the Hornets are searching for their fourth permanent manager in under a year you’d be forgiven for thinking that some managers would want to stay well clear of the trigger-happy club. 

However, this is the whirlwind nature of football management we are dealing with here, meaning there are no shortage of contenders in the mix for the Hornets job.

Instead, the problem lies with attempting to predict what the Pozzo’s will do next, although we’ve done our best below as we take a look at five of the current contenders for the post...

The Favourite: Gerhard Struber

The Austrian arrived on English soil as a relative unknown but has since significantly elevated his managerial reputation after he miraculously saved Barnsley from the drop out of the Championship, having been rock-bottom upon his appointment in November.

Gerhard Struber now finds himself installed as the 5/2 favourite for the Watford job, with the Watford Observer reporting that the club have already made contact with the ex-Wolfsberger AC boss. 

Struber’s Barnsley contract doesn’t expire until 2022, but having already lost two members of his coaching team - Max Senft and Matt Rose - the manager himself may decide to make a change too with Watford likely to be in the mix for promotion.

The Owner’s Link: Luca Gotti

The former Chelsea assistant to Maurizio Sarri still features in the upper echelons of the betting to replace Pearson.

Luca Gotti may now be in charge of Udinese but a move to Watford wouldn’t be too hard to negotiate given that the Pozzo family also own the Italian club - Sky Sports even report that discussions have already taken place.

However, on Monday morning The Athletic’s Adam Leventhal tweeted that Gotti had not spoken to the Pozzo’s about a potential switch:

"We never talked about Watford, we talked about possibility of continuing together with Udinese. From tomorrow we'll start discussing how to think about going forward together"


Could John Terry take the leap into management?

The Championship CV: Chris Hughton

Arguably the strongest contender CV-wise, given his superb record in the Championship.

In four complete seasons managing in the second-tier Chris Hughton has finished 4th or higher, and led both Newcastle and Brighton into the Premier League; a destination Watford are looking to return to following their relegation a week ago.

Hughton’s name has been doing the rounds in the next manager markets over the course of the last few weeks, predominantly in association with both Birmingham and Bristol City. Yet for the moment at least he remains unemployed, while his more pragmatic tendencies conflict with Watford’s reported eagerness to employ an expansive brand of football.

The Trophy Magnet: Vladimir Ivic 

In a short period of time Vladimir Ivic has already achieved a fair bit in the managerial arena.

In two full seasons at Maccabi Tel-Aviv Ivic bagged back-to-back league titles and lifted the Toto Cup (League Cup), while he remarkably only lost two league games during that period. Prior to that he led PAOK Greek Cup in one season at the helm.

That’s four trophies in three complete seasons, so he’s used to winning.

The successful Serbian’s teams are hard to beat - something which Watford were not last season - but the adaptable tactician does favour positive football. “I like attacking and aggressive football, with high pressure, but I tailor the scheme according to the circumstances,” he revealed to Serbian newspaper Danas.

Considering that he’s currently available for hire this link may well gather steam this week.

The Rookie: John Terry

Stevie G’s up at Rangers and Frank Lampard is about to embark on his second season at Chelsea - could this summer see John Terry step out solo too?

The Chelsea legend is currently assistant to Dean Smith at Aston Villa, having played a role in the club’s promotion to the Premier League and then their top-flight preservation.

The Pozzo family took nearly everyone by surprise when they opted for Englishman Nigel Pearson last winter but it’s difficult to envision the owners setting their sights on the untested Terry, who features at 10/1 in the market.

Any others?

Eddie Howe is an 8/1 shot, but whether he sees his next job in the Championship is open to debate.

The Cowley brothers can be backed at 20/1 after leaving Huddersfield, interim boss Hayden Mullins is out at 25/1, whereas former boss Gianfranco Zola is a 33/1 outsider.

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