Fulham have sacked a second manager of the season, with Claudio Ranieri leaving the club. After their defeat to Southampton bookmakers slashed the odds on the Italian being the next Premier League manager to leave, and it turns out they were right to do so as just hours later he was gone. He was in charge of the Cottagers for just 106 days having replaced Slavisa Jokanovic in November.
It was an unsuccessful spell for Ranieri, who famously guided Leicester City to the Premier League title in the 2015/16 season. The 67-year-old managed to win just three of his 17 league matches in charge, losing 11 and leaves the Cottagers in 19th place, 10 points adrift of safety with just 10 fixtures remaining.
Chairman Shahid Khan spoke about the departure, saying: "Claudio walked into a difficult situation, inheriting a side that gained only one point in its prior eight matches, and he provided an immediate boost by leading our club to nine points in his first eight matches as manager. Though we were unable to maintain that pace thereafter, I am grateful for his effort."
First-team coach Scott Parker will take temporary charge of the club for an unspecified amount of time, although it seems possible that it will be until the end of the season to allow the club to identify the right man to take over for the 2019/20 campaign.
But who will be the next Fulham manager on a permanent basis and take charge on the first day of the 2019/20 season? Bookmakers are already offering odds on who it will be and we have taken a closer look.
Scott Parker favourite to be next Fulham manager
The man in caretaker charge is also the bookmakers favourite to be handed the job long term, with Parker's odds to be in charge for the first league game of the 2019/20 season currently 3/1 with Sky Bet.
The 38-year-old has been at the club as a coach since last summer, arriving from Tottenham Hotspur where he was in charge of their Under 18's. He doesn't have any experience in first team management, but this is a brilliant opportunity for him to cut his teeth and show his capability to manage at the top level.
If the former England international gets some positive results between now and the end of the season, then he will certainly have a good chance of getting the job full time. His former teammate Michael Owen said on social media that he believes that he has all the credentials to make a good manager, and this is certainly his chance to prove that.
Parker should look to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for inspiration. The Norwegian was also made a caretaker manager at Manchester United, but some impressive results have seen him become the bookmakers favourite to get the job permanently.
David Moyes, Sam Allardyce amongst Fulham manager contenders
Former Sunderland, West Ham, Manchester United and Everton manager David Moyes is also in the running to replace Ranieri according to bookmakers. The Scots odds are 5/1 with to be in the Fulham dugout for the first league game of the 2019/20 season. He has been out of work since leaving the Hammers at the end of last season, but is thought to be keen on a return to management soon.
Former Huddersfield Town manager David Wagner is also priced at 5/1 to take the job. He left the Terriers earlier this season but did a brilliant job with the West Yorkshire side, taking them from relegation contenders in the Championship to the Premier League. His performance whilst working on a tight budget was impressive, and he plays attractive football which is something that Fulham demand.
Claude Puel is also in at 5/1 following his recent dismissal from Leicester City. The Frenchman has done pretty well in both of his jobs in English football, guiding both the Foxes and Southampton to top half finishes whilst also reaching the League Cup final with the latter. However, his style of football has been called into question by supporters of both clubs for being a little dull and he may therefore not be the best for Fulham who have played expansive and attacking football of late.
Another name in the frame is Sam Allardyce who's odds are 6/1. The former England manager, who has also enjoyed spells at the likes of Bolton Wanderers, Crystal Palace and Blackburn Rovers, has been out of work since parting company with Everton at the end of the 2017/18 season. Big Sam is renowned for keeping teams in the Premier League, but with the Cottagers looking set to stick with Parker until the end of the season before then appointing Ranieri's successor that quality will not be one was Fulham need.
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill (9/1), former Wales boss Chris Coleman (10/1) and Bristol City's Lee Johnson (12/1) are all also towards the top end of the betting market.
Shock return to Fulham for Slavisa Jokanovic?
One of the names on the list is a man well known by the Fulham faithful, Slavisa Jokanovic. The Serbian of course guided the Cottagers to promotion from the Championship last season, going on an unbelievable run of form in the second half of the season to reach the play-offs.
They ended up beating Aston Villa 1-0 in the final, but despite his success he only lasted until November in the Premier League before being dismissed and replaced by Ranieri.
There are a number of fans that would like to see the 50-year-old back in the dugout at Craven Cottage, with some even holding up a banner with his name written on it in a recent fixture at Southampton. In fairness it would be a solid appointment, especially presuming they will be back in the Championship. He knows the club and squad inside out and has experience in winning promotion from the second tier whilst playing an attractive style of football.
Sky Bet are offering odds of 10/1 for the Serbian to return to the club.
Fulham Manager First League Game 2019/20 Odds:
(All odds with Sky Bet)
- Scott Parker - 3/1
- David Moyes - 5/1
- David Wagner - 5/1
- Claude Puel - 5/1
- Sam Allardyce - 6/1
- Michael O'Neill - 9/1
- Chris Coleman - 10/1
- Slavisa Jokanovic - 10/1
- Lee Johnson - 12/1
- Carlos Carvalhal - 14/1
- Gary Rowett - 14/1