Celtic majority shareholder Dermot Desmond has revealed that bookies favourite Brendan Rodgers is one of “in excess of six” managers that the Parkhead board have interviewed to replace Ronny Deila.
Desmond hinted he was closing in on a major figure to take on the job and this afternoon said he is hoping to make an appointment “in the next four or five days”.
When asked how many managers had been interviewed for the jobs, the Irishman responded: “In excess of six. I can say we’ve talked to a lot of managers, all very good.
“We’re excited about the candidates that we have and hopefully in the next four or five days we’ll be able to make an announcement.
“We’d like to think Celtic is a very big club and it needs a great manager to manage such a great club so we’re looking for that type of person.”
Desmond confirmed that Brendan Rodgers was one of the men interviewed by Parkhead bosses, while former Watford, Cardiff and Wigan boss Malky Mackay has also held discussions with the Parkhead board. But Celtic have spoken to at least another four candidates – who are they?
Likely candidates for the Celtic job
Rodgers’ management career started at Watford in 2008 before a brief spell with Reading. His reputation soared when he took over at Swansea, where he guided the Welsh side to the Premier League.
The Northern Irishman took over at Liverpool in 2012 and narrowly missed out on winning the Premier League with the Reds when he was beaten to the 2013/14 title by Manchester City on the last day of the season.
Celtic have held discussions with Rodgers and the 43-year-old is the bookies favourite for the job.
The Scotsman was the bookies favourite to take on the role before it emerged yesterday that the Hoops had opened discussions with Rodgers.
Moyes enjoyed great success with Everton before landing the top job at Manchester United, on recommendation of the outgoing Sir Alex Ferguson. His spell at Old Trafford didn’t go as well as hoped and he headed to Spain to take over at Real Sociedad. Moyes kept the club in La Liga but was unable to push on from there and was sacked after a year in the job.
Currently being touted for a possible return to Everton, if Moyes doesn’t get the Celtic job, he is almost guaranteed to return to the English Premier League next season.
Reported to be Dermot Desmond’s first choice, the Manchester United legend spent six months at Parkhead at the end of his playing career.
Keane turned down the chance to take the job two years ago when Neil Lennon left Celtic but Desmond is expected to have at least sounded out his fellow Irishman again.
Paul Lambert emerged as a possible candidate when he quit Blackburn at the end of April, immediately prompting speculation that the former Celtic captain could return to Parkhead.
Lambert opted to activate a release clause in the two-and-a-half-year contract he signed in November and stepped down following Rovers’ final Sky Bet Championship game of the season against Reading on May 7.
The 46-year-old has enjoyed mixed fortunes during his 11 year managerial career to date following spells in charge of Livingston, Wycombe Wanderers, Colchester United, Norwich City and Aston Villa before he took over at Blackburn last year.
The former Watford, Cardiff and Wigan boss spent five years as a player at Celtic during the 1990s and has now held talks with the Celtic hierarchy over the prospect of a return to the club as manager.
Mackay has been a free man since he was sacked by Wigan in April 2015 and he has previously gone on record, saying he would be keen to take on the role at Parkhead.
As soon as news broke of Deila’s departure, Lennon signalled his interest in returning to Celtic.
Lennon won three Premiership titles and two Scottish Cups and took the Hoops into the Champions League during the four years he spent as Hoops manager before he left in 2014 to be replaced by Deila.
Lennon is better placed than anyone to know the identikit needed for the job but would a return to their former manager be seen as a step forward by the Parkhead faithful?
The Celtic legend was offered the job in summer 2014 when Neil Lennon left the club.
The 44-year-old Swede turned down the chance to return to Parkhead, stating that he didn’t feel it was the right time to take on the job.
In the two years since Larsson was last approached by the Celtic board, he has left Falkenberg to become manager at Helsingborgs and is certainly a more experienced manager but it remains to be seen if now is the right time for the ‘King of Kings’ to take his seat on the Parkhead throne.