Which high-profile manager linked with Celtic would be the best fit?

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So long as Neil Lennon’s status as Celtic manager includes the “caretaker” tag, there will be speculation over who the next permanent boss will be. And seeing as how predecessor Brendan Rodgers was a big name appointee, there will continue to be a host of high-profile candidates linked with the post. Craig Fowler has selected five of those mentioned so far, weighed up the possibility of them taking the job, and whether they’d be a good fit.

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Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez. Picture: Getty

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez. Picture: Getty

Roberto Martinez

The Spaniard was the favourite with some bookmakers but those odds are surely going to lengthen after it was revealed by Martinez’s agent that the Belgium national team boss is not interested in taking over at a Scottish Premiership club - a sentence which should come as a surprise to nobody considering he’s got a great chance to win the European Championships with Belgium next year.

It’s a shame because, had Martinez been that desperate to get back into club football, he’d have been the perfect Rodgers replacement. His managerial style is basically the same, wanting his teams to play passing, attractive, attacking football and, like the Northern Irishman, he thinks it’s a really good idea to have Dedryck Boyata in the back four.

Rafael Benitez

This would be a great fit for both Celtic and manager. Not only would the Parkhead board be recruiting someone who is of a better calibre than Brendan Rodgers, they’d also be attracting someone who’s better tooled to win on the continent. The former manager continually fell down in Europe because he didn’t know how to shape a team to be organised defensively. Benitez has demonstrated throughout his career that he has that power. It would also give the Spaniard the opportunity to win multiple trophies again after the yearly slog of keeping Newcastle in the English top flight.

Of course, this would depend on Newcastle being completely inept and not working out a new contract to keep Benitez on Tyneside (it’s Mike Ashley, so it’s certainly in play) and any other cash-rich club from England or abroad not immediately pouncing on the Magpies’ error by snapping Benitez up.

Michael O’Neill

The Northern Irish boss was keen on becoming the next manager of Scotland until the SFA got their wallet out, opened it up, and revealed it contained nothing more than lint and a condom long past its expiration date. Perhaps the reasons he was open to leading the omni-shambles that is the Scottish national team would still apply when he considers managing Celtic - mainly that he lives just outside Edinburgh and has little intention of moving elsewhere. He may also be aware that he should probably leave Northern Ireland while his stock is at its highest.

Though he’s undoubtedly a big name, this should still be considered a gamble on the part of the Scottish champions, and an expensive one at that. He’s performed a tremendous job with the Northern Irish team and would be expected to work similar miracles with Celtic in Europe, but his experience in club football is limited to two years at Brechin City and two years at Shamrock Rovers. He undoubtedly did a terrific job with the latter, but that’s the kind of CV that gets you the Hibs job rather than the Celtic one.

Andre Villas-Boas

The former Tottenham manager’s last two clubs have been in Russia (Zenit St Petersburg) and China (Shanghai SIPG). If that doesn’t scream “I LOVE MONEY!” then I don’t know what does. Celtic would be willing to push the boat out budget-wise in order to land another big name to help them secure Champions League football most seasons, but whether they’d be able to stretch it to tempt Villas-Boas is another thing. If he was willing to do business with a Scottish club then Celtic could offer him a route into European relevance once again, especially if he has any ambition of managing in the top flight of England once more.

At Spurs he was a qualified success in his first season; missing out on fourth place but finishing with the club’s highest ever Premier League points total at the time. However, his second term was a disaster and he was quickly upstaged by Tim Sherwood (let that sink in for a second). The football, while of the passing variety, wasn’t particularly easy on the eye either. Methodical to the point it removed the entertainment factor. Or perhaps that was just Paulinho.

David Moyes

Moyes seems to really want the Celtic job and has been ramping up a PR campaign in order to get it. Numerous stories about his “interest” have been leaked to the papers, while he also chatted with Simon Ferry on Open Goal and appeared to be adopting an every-man persona in the hopes of persuading the casual Hoops fans watching that he was the man for the job. The sheer effort smacks of a relatively attractive co-worker who’s trying just that little bit too hard for you to be interested. Being wanted is nice, but a constant flow of “what you up to?” messages at random times can quickly become grating. Celtic fans better just hope Peter Lawwell doesn’t get drunk at the end-of-season party and dial Moyes’ number after 3am.

As for the supporters, Moyes is not a popular choice because he’s perceived to play pragmatic football, but more importantly his talents seem to be on the wane having failed to stick around anywhere longer than a year after leaving Everton in 2013. He wouldn’t be a popular choice.

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