February 26, 2019
Coach persuaded to quit Scottish Premiership leaders Celtic
Midlands team sacked Claude Puel after string of poor results
Leicester City to announce No 1 target Brendan Rodgers as new manager
Brendan Rodgers will be named the new Leicester City manager. The 46-year-old is expected to be appointed within the next 24 hours after Celtic reluctantly gave him permission to talk to Leicester. It is understood that talks are at an advanced stage and that a deal in principle has been agreed between all parties, paving the way for Rodgers to take charge of his first game as Leicester manager at Watford on Sunday.
Leicester had identified Rodgers as their No 1 target to replace Claude Puel several months ago but there were doubts as to whether the Northern Irishman could be persuaded to leave Celtic in the middle of the season, especially given the Scottish champions are on course to win a third domestic treble in succession.
However, Puel’s dismissal on Sunday, on the back of a 4-1 home defeat against Crystal Palace the night before, has forced the issue. With the best part of three months of the season remaining, Leicester were eager to make a permanent appointment straight away and prepared to pay a compensation figure of £5m for Rodgers, who has previously managed in the Premier League with Liverpool and Swansea City.
Although there was still an expectation that Rodgers would complete the season with Celtic, Leicester refused to be discouraged and made it clear that they wanted to fill the vacancy immediately. Chris Davies, Rodgers’s assistant at Celtic, and Kolo Touré, another member of the club’s backroom staff, will also move to the King Power Stadium.
Rodgers is viewed by Leicester as the perfect manager to develop a talented group of younger players and to implement a clear playing philosophy – something that Puel failed to do during his time at the club. Although Leicester are 12th in the table, there is a feeling that the squad is capable of far more and that Rodgers, with his ability to coach as well as manage, ticks all the right boxes in that respect.
From Celtic’s point of view, the timing is far from ideal and leaves them with sizeable shoes to fill – Rodgers won seven domestic trophies in the space of 32 months with the club – at a critical juncture of the season. It appears likely that Celtic will now turn to Neil Lennon, who left Hibernian at the end of January, as a short-term option.
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