Celtic job link for Barcelona and Real Madrid legends, ex-Parkhead striker says 'push the boundaries' in new manager hunt

Neil Lennon is still the Celtic manager but names and alternatives continue to be linked to his job at Lennoxtown.

Bayern Munich's Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso retired as a player in 2017 (CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP via Getty Images)

Eddie Howe is the bookmakers’ favourite to be the next manager at Parkhead and assume the role from Lennon whenever the Northern Irishman departs, however other names including Jack Ross, Martin O’Neill and Gordon Strachan have all led the betting markets in recent months.

The former Bournemouth manager is currently odds-on favourite, but ex-Celtic striker Charlie Nicholas has urged the Parkhead bosses to look further afield than the English south coast for the new man at the helm.

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“I would prefer to see Parkhead chiefs push the boundaries and appoint someone like Xavi or Xabi Alonso as their new head coach,” he said.

Xavi Hernandez has been in charge of the Qatar All Stars club since 2019. (Photo by KARIM JAAFAR / AFP via Getty Images)

“A global figure who is young, ambitious and keen to make their name in management. Someone who would make people sit up and take notice, while also rebuilding the team's standing in Europe,” are some of the qualities Nicholas has identified as key for the next candidate.

However, the former Sky Sports pundit admits Howe also has plenty to admire for his work in taking the Cherries into the English Premier League.

In his Daily Express column he added: “I understand why Howe has become a popular choice with Celtic fans. When I was at Sky I enjoyed covering Bournemouth's games because his team was good to watch.”

He added: “Howe is now odds-on favourite and very rarely do the bookies get it wrong.”

Xavi is in charge of Al Sadd in Qatar while former Real Madrid, Liverpool and Bayern Munich man Alonso is in charge of Real Sociedad B.

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