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Hornets close in on Hodgson as Claudio’s successor

Watford are reportedly set to appoint former England boss Roy Hodgson as head coach after sacking Claudio Ranieri.

The relegation-haunted Hornets dropped the axe on Ranieri earlier this evening after the Italian, who was only appointed last October, oversaw 10 defeats in 13 games. 

And former Blackburn, Liverpool, and Crystal Palace boss Hodgson, 74, has emerged as the leading candidate to replace him at Vicarage Road. 

Hodgson has been out of work since leaving Palace at the end of last season and it was widely believed he would not manage again after leaving Selhurst Park. 

But the Croydon-born tactician is now in line to become Watford’s THIRD boss this season, following in the footsteps of Ranieri and Xisco Munoz, who led the Hornets for the first seven Premier League games of the campaign.

Ranieri’s departure means Watford have now sacked five head coaches since Javi Gracia’s exit in September 2019. 

Quique Sanchez Flores, Nigel Pearson, Vladimir Ivic, Munoz and ex-Chelsea and Leicester boss Ranieri have all left the club during that 28-month period, while Hayden Mullins has also had two spells as caretaker boss. 

If appointed, Hodgson will become the Pozzo family’s 15th permanent manager since they completed their takeover of Watford in June 2012.

The 19th-placed Hornets return to league action when they travel to rock-bottom Burnley on February 5. 

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Watford have sacked manager Claudio Ranieri after just 16 weeks in the hot seat, according to reports.

The well-travelled Italian signed a two-year deal at Vicarage Road in October, replacing Xisco Munoz with the side 15th, having taken seven points from their first seven Premier League games.

But Ranieri only managed to double that points tally during his 13 top-flight matches in charge and has now reportedly been sacked after 112 days.

The Hornets languish in 19th place in the Premier League and sit just two points above bottom-placed Burnley, who have two games in hand on the Hertfordshire side.

The relegation rivals will go toe-to-toe in a rearranged encounter at Turf Moor this weekend, with last Friday’s chastening 3-0 home loss to struggling Norwich seemingly the final straw for the Watford hierarchy.

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Watford have announced the appointment of Claudio Ranieri as their new head coach on a two-year contract.

The Italian former Chelsea and Leicester boss succeeds Xisco Munoz, who parted company with the Hornets on Sunday.

He takes over a side 15th in the Premier League with seven points from their opening seven matches.

Ranieri, 69, is Watford’s 13th permanent manager since owners the Pozzo family took control of the club in 2012.

He boasts a wealth of experience, with clubs such as Napoli, Fiorentina, Valencia, Juventus, Roma, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid also on his CV.

He famously guided Leicester to the Premier League title in 2016 and last worked in England during a brief stint at Fulham in 2018-19.

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Claudio Ranieri is expected to complete a deal to become Watford manager.

The vastly experienced Italian manager will replace Xisco Munoz at Vicarage Road, the PA news agency understands.

The 69-year-old will become Watford’s 13th permanent manager since owners the Pozzo family took control in 2012.

Ranieri steered 5000/1 shots Leicester to the most improbable of all Premier League titles in 2016, in what remains the crowning glory of a lengthy managerial career.

And now the ever-popular coach is understood to be mere formalities away from confirming his first job in English football in two years.

Ranieri endured a tough spell at Fulham in 2019 in his last foray in England, winning just three of his 17 matches at Craven Cottage before being replaced by assistant Scott Parker.

But now Watford’s board believe Ranieri is the right man to kick-start the Hornets’ season after just two wins in seven matches in the new top-flight campaign.

Munoz had only been in charge at Vicarage Road for 10 months, leading the club back to the Premier League, when he was unseated by Watford’s bosses on Sunday.

The Hornets have managed league wins over Aston Villa and Norwich but four losses and a draw elsewhere proved enough for the club hierarchy to make an early change.

Ranieri left Sampdoria at the end of last season and has been out of work since, but is now preparing to make his Premier League return.

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Former Leicester City boss Claudio Ranieri is reportedly in talks over a return to the Premier League.

The 69-year-old Premier League -winning manager was most recently in charge of Sampdoria but now looks set to become the new head coach of Watford.

The Hornets sacked Xisco Munoz this morning after picking up just seven points from their opening seven games.

According to Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio, talks are “ongoing” between Ranieri and Watford over a move to Vicarage Road.

Di Marzio also states that Ranieri is “ready” to return to the top flight of English football.

Ranieri would become the second former Leicester boss to lead Watford in recent seasons after Nigel Pearson’s brief yet successful spell in charge.

Since leaving Leicester in 2017, Ranieri has managed Nantes, Fulham, Roma and Sampdoria but looks set to return to England once more.

He is currently priced at just 1/3 with a bookmaker after Di Marzio’s report emerged.

While Ranieri will undoubtedly have little time to succeed at Watford, he showed at Leicester that he can produce instant results.

Luckily for Leicester, it seems likely that enough time has passed for him to want to recruit any of the club’s backroom staff.

His familiar bubbly personality and engaging press conferences could light up the Premier League once again if he is able to get results at Watford.