Leicester City have done the unthinkable and sacked Claudio Ranieri just nine months on from winning the league.
The Italian parted company with the Foxes on Thursday night despite his team securing a crucial away goal in the 2-1 defeat to Sevilla.
Whoever comes in has the difficult task of keeping them up amidst an enormous amount of ill will at the King Power stadium.
Roberto Mancini is the early favourite at 11/10. The former Premier League winner – which will probably count against him at this rate, knowing the Leicester board – was sacked by Inter Milan last year, but did play for the English side in 2001.
Bizarrely, Nigel Pearson is also high on the list at 5/1, despite only just keeping the club up two years ago. That pales into insignificance in light of Ranieri’s achievements, but Times journalist Henry Winter suggests that is actually what the players would prefer:
Some of the #lcfc players want Nigel Pearson back.
— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) February 23, 2017
Alan Pardew, sacked by fellow strugglers Crystal Palace before Christmas, is also at 5/1.
The other names in the frame seem to be Frank de Boer – another man sacked by Inter – at 6/1, former Birmingham boss Gary Rowett, who is yet to manage in the top flight, at 8/1, and former Leicester manager Martin O’Neill, who is at 12/1.
It’s hard to see O’Neill leaving his gig with Ireland and possibly dampening his reputation at Leicester, and a lot of managers must be reluctant to take over from someone as universally popular as Ranieri.
All the good feeling that pervaded the club last season has evaporated, and whoever takes over has got to be a special figure if they’re going to turn it around.