What a tailspin it has been for Leicester City, who just 18 months ago were crowned the best team in the land after securing the Premier League title of 2015/16.
Fast forward to today and the Foxes are hunting for a third manager in the space of eight months after Craig Shakespeare, the replacement of title-winning gaffer Claudio Ranieri, has also been shown the exit door by the club’s Thai owners.
They will need to move fast if they are to avoid a second successive campaign fizzling out into mediocrity, but as we have seen in the past it can be very difficult to appoint a new man partway through the season with most of management’s leading lights under contract elsewhere.
The shortlist for Shakespeare’s successor, as far as Leicester fans are concerned, does not make for great viewing:
Straight off the bat, a number of those names can be ruled out. Sky Sports are reporting that Mancini is ‘not in the running’, while Allardyce has said he would be interested in the Leicester post ‘but not at this time’.
Nigel Pearson has just been unveiled as the new manager of Belgian side Leuven – owned by the same group as Leicester, and after four wins from four he is unlikely to switch allegiancesI for a third spell at the club.
And surely the owners will not opt for another caretaker turned manager, as they did with Shakespeare, in the form of Michael Appleton.
If we assume that Leicester don’t poach another Premier League side’s manager – the likes of Sean Dyche, Marco Silva and David Wagner have been mentioned – then the field becomes rather more narrow.
So who are the five most likeliest candidates to land the job in the East Midlands?
Chris Coleman (5/1)
Such is the obvious like of Chris Coleman that a committee of Wales players, including Gareth Bale, reportedly begged their manager not to hand in his resignation following his side’s failure to qualify for World Cup 2018 at the hands of Ireland.
For the moment Coleman agreed, but he certainly did not convince of his long term passion for the role. “The whole nation will be mourning and disappointed because, again, that elusive World Cup has passed us by. There’s a chance I can [stay] and a chance I won’t. I can’t give an answer right now,” he said in a press conference.
We’ve all said things in haste when disappointed or angry, but with some three years now until the next major tournament that Wales could qualify for, Coleman must be thinking that now is the time for him to return to club football – his stock has never been higher.
The Leicester job is a good one: there are some good players at the club, a bit of money and, by all accounts, minimal expectations this season after a lousy start to the campaign. It’s the perfect starter pack for any new manager.
Carlo Ancelotti (12/1)
He’s just been sacked by Bayern Munich so is readily available, but would a former Bayern, Real Madrid and Chelsea manager want to step into the breach at little old Leicester?
For a managerial heavyweight like the Italian, taking on a high risk job at Leicester would lower his stock considerably, and make no mistake he will be keeping an out for a higher profile post in Italy, Spain or England than the Foxes.
Alan Pardew (14/1)
Alan Pardew has a long track record of taking on mediocre teams and making them fractionally less mediocre, and his playing style is not a million miles away from that of Pearson, who is so beloved by the King Power Group.
If Leicester hire Alan Pardew I’m going to cry pic.twitter.com/VvDBImH6gg
— Sam (@Sam_Gocher) October 17, 2017
But these owners have also appointed Sven Goran Ericsson and Claudio Ranieri in the past, so perhaps privately at least they would prefer a continental manager who can bring some sexy football back to the KP Stadium. Pardew is certainly not that man.
David Moyes (25/1)
Last seen hot-footing it out of Sunderland after leading them to inevitable relegation, Moyes is at least unemployed and thus will not require any hefty compensation payment handing out.
The problem for the Scot is that his excellent early managerial years at Preston and Everton are now becoming something of a distant memory; replaced by more contemporary visions of horrors at Manchester United, Real Sociedad and Sunderland.
You sense that Leicester’s owners need an appointment that will please the Foxes fans from a PR perspective after a tough year or so, and Moyes is not that man.
Thomas Tuchel (25/1)
Here’s an interesting candidate that is 25/1 with some sportsbooks but as short as 10/1 with others.
He did a brilliant job at Mainz to turn them into a top six side in the Bundesliga, and such promise was rewarded with the job at Borussia Dortmund. However, he could not gain any ground on Bayern Munich and was sacked with just one trophy to his name, the DFB-Pokal Cup.
Tuchel is at an interesting crossroads in his career. He could wait for a job with German club to come up and right some wrongs there, or could he could try his luck in England – he was linked with the Arsenal job prior to Arsene Wenger signing a new contract.
According to ESPN’s sources, Tuchel heads the Leicester board’s shortlist – those odds of 25/1 could look very long indeed soon enough.