If not Eddie Howe, who? What we know about the other likely Celtic candidates

By Euan Davidson

April 8, 2021

A lot of people are going to tell you that after last night, the Eddie Howe to Celtic is off.

That isn’t the case. Agents do this all the time. How often do we see a deal for a player rumble on and on, with agents trying to get their client’s name back in the headlines? Whatever you think of football agents, they have a job to do.

It’s not the best sign in the world, admittedly, especially after it all looked so close to being done. But honestly, we can’t know anything for sure until we see either Howe or someone else being announced.

Just a few days ago, the idea of it being “someone else” was pretty laughable, I’ll grant you. The Sun seemed to believe it was all but wrapped up. Nevertheless, we’re (relatively) sure the board has had a contingency plan all along. You don’t go after big-name targets without a few bumps along the way.

Here are the other significant names linked with the Celtic job, and what we know for sure.

Favre, airborne in 2011 / (Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Could Lucien Favre be the man for Celtic after all?

Lucien Favre has outright said he’s interested in the Celtic job [Daily Mail].

Much has been made of his Borussia Dortmund win percentage (better than Klopp), and his skills in developing household names. Marco Reus, Marc-André ter Stegen and others have been influenced by the Swiss coach. At 63, he’s got winning pedigree, has managed massive clubs and engineered European runs along the way.

Honestly, I thought more Celtic supporters would want this guy. He’s maybe on the older end of the managerial scale, but his history working with excellent Directors of Football (specifically Michael Zorc at BVB) and fantastic player recruitment are surely worthy of consideration.

There are probably European pundits who think we’re daft for chasing Howe when this Favre is both available and interested. Don’t discount this guy yet.

Roy Keane: a popular man / (Photo by Alan Peebles/Getty Images)

Roy Keane

Nah.

It looks over with Roy Keane, barring a total change of heart from the Celtic board. The understanding is that Desmond and co. met with the Manchester United legend, but that his overall record in management wasn’t to the standard required. According to the BBC’s Chris McLaughlin:

McLaughlin said [BBC]:

“Celtic’s search for a successor to Lennon officially started when the Northern Irishman left in February – in reality it started well before and Howe’s name was always one the board kept coming back to.

“Roy Keane became a favourite at one point but my understanding is, that was never likely to happen. Celtic wanted a name, yes, but they wanted one with a track record in management and in Howe they have both.”

You truly never know, but it’s relatively safe to say this link is done.

Could Enzo Maresca bring a new style to Celtic? / (Photo by Matt McNulty – Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)

Enzo Maresca

No update on Enzo Maresca, unfortunately.

It seems that Maresca talk is contingent on a couple of circumstances: 1. Eddie Howe goes elsewhere (obviously), 2. Fergal Harkin becomes DoF.

Much like Howe, it looked like Fergal Harkin coming to Celtic was kind of inevitable. However, Eddie Howe wants his own Director of Football in, which is more than a bit unusual. The Celtic board won’t want the tail wagging the dog there; a Director is a board appointment who helps to pick managers, and not the other way around.

Harkin’s links to Manchester City suggest that he’d have real pulling power with the ex-Sevilla midfielder. Maresca is head coach of City’s development side, which has seen fantastic talents like Jadon Sancho, Phil Foden and, of course, Jeremie Frimpong come through over the las 5 years.

Maresca is doing a great job with the side, top of Premier League 2. Shouldn’t a club with City’s resources be expected to ride that high, however?

At the moment, it’s dead quiet on Maresca. An outside bet, for sure.

Chris Wilder

Ex-Sheffield United man Chris Wilder has a similar story in management to Eddie Howe, yet supporters aren’t as keen. Having taken Sheffield United from League One to the Premier League, very much impressing in that first season in the top-flight, the Blades’ collapse and wild spending has put a lot of folk off.

The latest we heard: Wilder is not a likely choice.

Journalist Alan Biggs told Talksport:

“He’s been linked with Celtic but I can’t see that one. What I do see is either West Brom or Newcastle for sure.

“I do know that in 2019 following Sheffield United’s promotion, Newcastle investigated the possibility of recruiting him but he stayed loyal and wanted to manage his team in the top-flight.”

John Kennedy, Celtic interim boss / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

John Kennedy: continuity at Celtic?

You’ve got to imagine not, but it’s not like the Celtic hierarchy haven’t taken the cheap option before.

There’s a chance, albeit a slim one, that the Celtic board just don’t fancy the names on offer in the current market. That, perhaps, they’ll extend John Kennedy’s interim spell until the “perfect” candidate, whoever that is, becomes available.

Kennedy knows the city, knows the supporters and knows the players. He’s an experienced coach who’ll have a lot to offer in years to come, we’re sure.

Still, though. Seems unlikely, doesn’t it?

READ MORE: Jack Hendry speaks out on future, once more. 


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