Watford’s relegation from the Premier League was officially confirmed on Saturday afternoon after the Hornets lost 1-0 to Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
The 2021/22 campaign has been a miserable one for those associated with the Hertfordshire club, who have amassed just 22 points so far.
When the experienced Roy Hodgson became Watford’s third manager of the season back in January, fans were optimistic about their chances of survival, but the Hornets have won only twice since the former England boss was appointed.
In recent days, Hodgson has confirmed that he will be leaving Vicarage Road when his six-month contract expires this summer, leaving his seat in the home dugout vacant.
The club will undoubtedly be eager to bounce back from relegation at the first time of asking – just as they did when they were last in the Championship – but who will lead their promotion bid? Here are five potential names who could take over from Hodgson.
The early bookies’ favourite to become the next Watford manager is John Eustace, who is well thought-of by Hornets supporters after making over 150 appearances for the club during his playing days.
Eustace has accumulated plenty of coaching experience since retiring back in 2015, having managed Kidderminster Harriers for two years, before leaving to become Queens Park Rangers’ assistant manager.
With QPR boss Mark Warburton on his way out this summer, it is not known whether there will be a place for Eustace at Loftus Road next term, hence why many see him as a potential candidate for the Watford job.
Former Watford player and manager Sean Dyche is also expected to be in the running for the soon-to-be vacant position at Vicarage Road.
Dyche is held in high regard for the work he did at Burnley across a period of ten years, which came to an end less than a month ago.
Having been promoted from the Championship twice in the past, Dyche seems a suitable candidate, but there is perhaps a chance he will hold reservations about working with the Pozzo family, having been dismissed by them ten years ago.
Diego Martinez is a name several Watford fans might recognise, as he was heavily linked to the vacant manager’s job earlier this season, only for Claudio Ranieri to be appointed instead.
The 41-year-old has never coached in England before but has developed a good reputation in Spain after spells in charge of Osasuna and Granada, earning promotion to La Liga with the latter.
A number of Spanish managers have also enjoyed some success at Watford in recent years, such as Javi Gracia, who led the club to the FA Cup final in 2019.
Former Norwich City head coach Daniel Farke is another potential option for Watford, with the German currently unemployed following a very brief spell in charge of Russian side FC Krasnodar.
During his time at Norwich, Farke twice won the Championship title, and also earned praise for his consistent use of young players such as James Maddison, Max Aarons and Ben Godfrey.
His patchy record in the Premier League would perhaps be a concern, but Farke has proven himself as somebody who knows how to guide a team out of the second-tier.
An outside bet for the man to replace Hodgson is Fabio Cannavaro, who is best-known for winning the World Cup and Ballon D’Or during his hugely successful playing career.
The Italian has taken charge of a number of clubs in Asia – most notably Guangzhou Evergrande since retiring as a player just over a decade ago, and also tried his hand at international management with the Chinese national team.
Cannavaro has been unemployed since September of last year, so his reported aspirations to manage in Europe could be reached this summer.
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