Five candidates for next Watford head coach

Marco Silva was sacked from his role as Watford head coach on Sunday morning, but who could the Hornets look to appoint as his replacement?

On Sunday morning, Watford announced that they had parted company with Marco Silva, who at one stage this season had appeared to be the perfect choice to lead the Hornets' challenge for a place in the top 10 of the Premier League table. Watford currently hold 10th position in the standings, but Saturday's 2-0 defeat at Leicester City left Silva with just five points from his last 11 top-flight fixtures and it was only a matter of time before a change was made. Watford cited that Everton's approach for Silva's services earlier in the campaign had played its part, but the Hertfordshire-based club have shown in the past that they have not necessarily got patience when it comes to giving their head coach a prolonged period of time in the dugout.

Like when using the most reputable online gambling sites, the club's hierarchy look for value for money when appointing the main man in the hotseat and we should expect no different here. Bookmakers currently see Javi Gracia as the man most likely to be brought in for the closing four months of the season and on paper, the 47-year-old appears to fit the mould. First and foremost, he's available so no compensation will need to be paid, and he has experience of coaching in a number of different nations, including Spain, Russia and Greece. Gracia's most notable spell came at Malaga between 2014 and 2016, where he guided Albicelestes to back-to-back top-10 finishes in La Liga before enjoying a less-than-spectacular year with Rubin Kazan. Still, he ticks a lot of boxes for Watford so do not be surprised to see this appointment.

Staying with the Malaga theme and Jose Lopez also appears to be on Watford's shortlist. Lopez has struggled since his arrival at the Spanish side in the summer and they currently sit at the bottom of the top-flight table. However, his stock remains relatively high due to a brief spell in the Chinese Super League with Beijing Sinobo Guoan FC and while this does not appear to be the most obvious of choices from the outside, it is another which fits the Watford mould.

Shakhtar Donetsk manager Paulo Fonseca pictured in September 2017© Offside

It's not our intent to stay with a recurring theme of clubs but Beijing's current head coach is also said to be in the running to make the switch to England. Roger Schmidt is best known for his excellent spells at both Red Bull Salzburg and Bayer Leverkusen, but the German only led Beijing to a ninth-placed finish in the most recent campaign. Schmidt has been linked with Premier League jobs in the past - bigger than the one on offer at Watford - but there are unlikely to be any better opportunities to move to the division in the near future and the time may be right for the 50-year-old to accept any offer which may come from the Hornets.

Earlier this season, the name of Paulo Fonseca was mentioned as a potential candidate for the Everton job, ironically after the Toffees had failed to secure the services of Silva. The Portuguese has crafted an excellent managerial CV with trophies being won in periods at each of Porto, Braga and current club Shakhtar Donetsk. The 44-year-old will probably be tempted to hold out for a bigger job - especially having guided Shakhtar to the last 16 of the Champions League in a group which also featured Manchester City and Napoli - but it is only a matter of time before we see him in one of European football's biggest leagues. He's an outsider at best, but it would represent a significant coup if Watford could pull it off.

Our last potential candidate is very familiar with the Premier League. Manuel Pellegrini won a league title at Man City before being replaced by Pep Guardiola - it is one of those decisions which he just had to take on the chin. The last 17 months have been spent at Hebei China Fortune with a fourth-placed finish being earned last season but if the 64-year-old has the desire to return to England, there will be jobs awaiting him. The Chilean may only be prepared to entertain a move to Watford if there is some kind of guarantee that he will be given more time than his predecessors but like with Fonseca, Pellegrini would be a fine appointment.

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A general shot of a Premier League football ahead of the Premier League clash between Everton and West Ham United at Goodison Park on October 30, 2016
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Javi Gracia in line to take Watford reins?
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